August 8, 2023
Sinn Féin write to Simon Harris regarding access of northern students to universities in the south – Delargy, Archibald, Finucane & Farrell

Sinn Féin MLAs Pádraig Delargy and Caoimhe Archibald, alongside John Finucane MP and Mairéad Farrell TD, have written to the Minister of Further and Higher Education Simon Harris regarding the conversion of the A Level Results during the CAO process.

The current model makes the access of university courses by students from the north incredibly difficult, the Minister must act to change this process.

Pádraig Delargy MLA, spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, said:

“The current model of admissions does not place A-Level Qualifications on an equal footing to the leaving cert. As a result this has made it difficult if not impossible for students who have studied less than four A-Levels to access University in the south. This must change and qualifications north and south must be placed on a more equal footing by the CAO so that northern students can have greater access to courses in the south.”

Caoimhe Archibald MLA stated:

“This year we saw the highest intake ever of students from the south to universities in the north, as the housing crisis in the south makes student accommodation increasingly unaffordable.  However, it is positive that more students from the south are taking the opportunity to study in the north and equally we believe students from the north who want to study at universities in the south should be able to do so on the same basis.”

John Finucane MP added:

“This is an issue that we have been raising for some time. I first wrote to the Minister in relation to this last October. In advance of results and impending CAO offers in just a few weeks I had hoped and expected there would have been engagement on this issue by now, reflecting the concern that is growing on a yearly basis.”

Mairéad Farrell TD, spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, said:

“It is imperative that the Minister tackle this issue as it is a matter of equity of access and fairness. We have fantastic universities which offer so much to our student population. It is essential that these opportunities can be availed of by all those who wish to do so on this island. Our future will be the better for it.”

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