New USI president to campaign for increased State investment

NUI Galway graduate Kevin Donoghue wants more funding for higher education

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is planning to step up its campaign for greater investment of State funds in higher education ahead of the next general election, its newly-elected president has said.

Kevin Donoghue, a graduate of Law and Philosophy at NUI Galway who had been serving as the organisation's deputy president, was elected to the top post at the USI's congress in Athlone today.

Speaking after his appointment as president, Mr Donoghue identified as priority issues “reform of the grant system and a roadmap for education to be properly recognised as a public good and properly funded”.

Mr Donoghue said the USI would be engaging with the expert group chaired by Peter Cassells, which is due to make recommendations to the Government before the end of this year on a sustainable funding model for higher education.

“The Budget and the general election will be a huge part of our workload in the year ahead. We will sit down with political parties to see where they stand.”

Labour pledge

Before the last general election, the USI secured a pledge from Ruairí Quinn that Labour would not increase the student registration charge in Government - something he reneged on once he was appointed minister for education.

Securing pre-election pledges “was not ideal”, Mr Donoghue said, suggesting the USI would instead seek to influence broader educational policy across the political spectrum.

Mr Donoghue takes over as president from Laura Harmon on July 1st.

Joe Humphreys

Joe Humphreys

Joe Humphreys is an Assistant News Editor at The Irish Times and writer of the Unthinkable philosophy column