[Sinn Fein]

23rd May 2003

Sinn Fein to Fight Fees on the Streets

Sinn Fein TD Arthur Morgan has pledged that Sinn Fein will oppose any proposed re-introduction of fees or the creation of a loan system on the floor of Leinster House and ``on the streets of the towns and cities of Ireland."


Speaking at a press conference organised by the Union of Students of Ireland in Dublin today the Louth Deputy said: ``Sinn Fein believes in the right to free education as a core principle. I do not accept the argument that this will facilitate access to education. There is no evidence that the money raised from this will actually go to improve access to education. The massive increases in Registration Fees last year went straight into Charlie McCreevy's back pocket.


``The reintroduction of fees is the thin end of the wedge. Just like they have consistently increased Registration Fees, they will continue to lower the income barrier if fees are returned.


``If the Government are serious about redistributing wealth in society, if they are serious about making the rich pay their fair share, the way to do it is through taxation.


``Sinn Fein proposed in our pre-budget submission a super tax rate on individuals earning over ¤100,000 of 50%, an increase in Capital Gains Tax to 40%, increases in Corporation Tax and Employers PRSI. This is the way to raise money for free education and a host of other services, if only the Government had the courage to do so.


``If the Minister is serious about addressing the issue of access, why has he not implemented the recommendations of the Action Group on Access to Third Level Education which are now almost two years old? There is nothing in there about fees or a loan system to improve access. According to today's papers he now wishes to ask the OECD to conduct a review of third level when he has this report sitting on his desk.


``Should the Minister attempt to bring in Fees or a loan system, Sinn Fein will oppose it not merely on the floor of Leinster House but on the streets of the towns and cities of Ireland." CRÍOCH


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