President of the Students Union of Ireland John Logue has criticised the Labour Party´s performance since entering the coalition with Fine Gael in 2011.
Logue claimed that young voters have been left disappointed by the contribution of Labour with regard to the education portfolio.Speaking on RTE´s Frontline programme, Logue lambasted the performance of Labour TD Ciara Conway and that of her party. "You received 5,500 votes in the last election, 1,000 of which were a result of the USI registering students on your behalf. Your party made a pledge to protect young people and to protect education.That pledge at the minute is in tatters." Logue went on to claim that the party now had "no credit whatsoever with young people." In a lively yet constructive debate on the RTE show, many salient issues for students were raised. The issue of third level funding was raised, with Logue insisting that any measures taken to introduce a government supported loan system would have adverse affects on participation levels. The first year that the government in the UK introduced this loan system, there was a drop in 17 % of people applying for third level.It is people from disadvantaged areas who tend to opt out of such a scheme.´ Logue was also critical of the relative disparity between what Irish civil servants in the education sector receive in comparison to their British counterparts and claimed that much of the funding crisis now evident in the Irish education system was due in large part to those same high salary levels. "Staff paid in the Irish third level education system are paid 30% more than their UK counterparts.They aren´t more productive and they are not working any more hours.We have to look at rationalisation,an end to duplication and getting rid of waste.80% of the funding that thrid level institutions receive is tied up in the Croke Park agreement.There is a feeling among young people, that certain people climbed up the ladder, and then pulled the ladder up after them." he concluded.