Ibec, Ireland’s largest business lobby group, has called on the government to direct “excess” corporation tax to tackle the funding crisis in the higher education sector, rather than continue with plans for a €500 million ‘rainy day fund’.
The Times Ireland reported today that Edel Creely, Ibec’s president, called for significant investment in third level education. Creely stated that a “radical fiscal response is needed to address the crisis in higher education [and] the [lack of] funding associated with it. This is causing a fall in international rankings”.
“What we would ask is that instead of allocating the surge in corporate taxes to a rainy day fund that those resources would be put into a ring-fenced fund to provide much-needed finance for our universities and our institutes of technology.”
Ms Creely made the comments while speaking at the National Economic Dialogue in Dublin Castle on 27 June.
Yesterday, Ibec’s Fergal O’Brien stated that the higher education sector “has had a very difficult 10 years like lots of parts of the Irish public sector and economy”.
At the time, he noted that the “funding situation is not improving” and that the international standings of Irish universities were “falling very, very rapidly.”
“Right now we have no Irish university in the top 100 for example. This is a perception that becomes a reality in terms of impacting on Ireland’s international reputation.”
In response to the call, Director General of the Irish Universities Association Jim Miley tweeted yesterday, indicating that it was “[time] for govt action to support 3rd level, the main talent supplier for the knowledge economy.” Miley quoted Ms Creely by writing that “persistent underfunding of the third level sector is a direct threat to the country’s economic future.”
@ibec_irl say “persistent underfunding of the third level sector is a direct threat to the country’s economic future “. Time for govt action to support 3rd level, the main talent supplier for the knowledge economy. https://t.co/BYfS4ocrGW
— Jim Miley (@JimMiley) July 1, 2018
In a letter to The Times Ireland in June, Miley referenced a report on the future funding of higher education stating that “[more] than two years on [since its publication], the problem is worse, as shown by the fall in rankings of Irish universities.”
“We know that university education delivers huge economic benefit for both the individual and the country. We also know we need an extra €600 million a year by 2021 to properly fund our higher education system.”