Opposition to the Higher Education Authority Bill 2022

Maynooth Students’ Union announces its opposition to the proposed Higher Education Authority (HEA) Bill 2022.

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Maynooth Students’ Union announces its opposition to the proposed Higher Education Authority (HEA) Bill 2022 

Today, Maynooth Students’ Union join with other students’ unions, staff unions, universities and institutions in opposing the passing of the proposed Higher Education Authority (HEA) Bill 2022.  

 

The overall plan for the third-level sector has been, in our opinion, completely rushed, has involved little to no consultation with stakeholders in the sector and falls just short of being an outright attack on academic freedom. 

 

While we welcome the recently announced investment in the sector, this is too little too late and is less than half of what was recommended in the Cassels Report on the funding of higher education. More than that, it has completely ignored student protests across the country calling for fees to be scrapped. 

 

Furthermore, while we do not oppose stronger input and oversight of public funds, what is proposed in this bill goes too far and could impede academic freedom and institutions’ abilities to grow and provide for students. 

 

Additionally, this bill does not go far enough to enshrine and protect the autonomy of students' unions and their funding. In fact, it undermines the lobbying power of local students' unions to fight for the needs of their members. 

 

Overall, this bill leaves numerous outstanding questions unanswered and does not have the support, nor confidence, of the higher education sector from students, academics, staff or institutions.  

 

Therefore, this bill has gone far enough and I am calling on our elected representatives to do their jobs; to listen to the clear message from stakeholders and prevent this Bill from becoming law where it will have disastrous consequences for the Higher Education landscape and, in turn, the wider Irish economy and society. 

 

Ní neart go cur le cheile, 

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Liam Cosgrove 

MSU President 2021-22 

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