National News in Brief

Student Fees in Northern Ireland Could Rise to £9,000Student fees could rise to as much as £9,000 in Northern Ireland, it was recently reported, following a funding option suggested by the employment and learning minister, Stephen Farry.In a new report, entitled ‘Securing a Sustainable Solution for Higher Education in Northern Ireland’, three funding options were put forward. The report was released by the Department for Employment and Learning.In the forward to the report, Farry claimed that “a structural under-investment in our higher education system has grown, and has now become unsustainable”.The first option proposes that public funding would have to increase by at least £55 million, with tuition fees going up to £4,200, from the current £3,805 a year for university education in Northern Ireland.The second model suggests an increase in fees to meet the funding crisis. The rise would be between £6,500 to £9,000, and would require no extra government funding.The final option suggests a fee increase of between £5,500 and £6,000, along with an increase in government funding of between £27.5 million and £34.1 million.The report does not favour any particular funding option, but instead outlines all three to be considered by the Executive after the 2016 Assembly election.Irish Universities Score Highly in Top 50 World Subject RankingsIrish universities have scored highly in a recent top 50 world subject rankings, with UCD and Trinity taking all six of Ireland’s top 50 places. The highest ranking was achieved jointly by UCD and Trinity for veterinary science and nursing, at number 31.The figures come from the sixth edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject. The results are obtained from the opinions of 76,698 academics and 44,426 employers. This is accompanied by analysis of 28.5 million research papers and 113 million citations.10 Irish universities made the list, with UCD being the most frequently ranked university. It features in 32 of the 42 subject tables, closely followed by Trinity at 29 and UCC at 14. Overall, 37 of the 42 tables released in this year’s report feature one or more Irish universities.UCC’s School of Nursing and Midwifery was ranked in the top 50 nursing schools, and also experienced the greatest jump of Irish universities in the rankings. Their subject rankings are up four places from 2011.USI Pro-Choice Awareness Week Takes PlaceThe Union of Students in Ireland (USI) recently held a pro-choice awareness week, starting on 21st March.The pro-choice awareness week was supported by Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, who is the previous CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC), and is currently running for a seat in the Seanad.In a statement released by O’Malley Dunlop and USI, she explained why she was supporting the pro-choice movement, and why she hadn’t previously commented on it during her time as CEO of the DRCC.In the statement, O’Malley Dunlop said “we do not want to have another X case, another Savita Halappanavar, another Miss Y, Miss A, Miss B or Miss C. We do not want to have another suicidal 14-year-old rape victim to be denied access to an early termination. If there’s one thing a suicidal rape victim needs it’s immediate help and compassion and not to be treated like a criminal.”“It’s time to repeal the Eighth Amendment and replace it with appropriate legislation that respects women’s choices,” she continued. “When I was CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre I never commented on this issue because the policy of the centre is that its mission is to prevent and heal the trauma of rape and sexual assault for victims of these most heinous crimes by providing counseling for them to recover.”