A message from the President of TU Dublin, Professor David FitzPatrick: Invest in our Universities

Published: 28 Sep, 2023

A message from TU Dublin President, Professor David FitzPatrick, about prioritising core funding for Universities in Budget 2023.

Last week, TU Dublin joined together with the Presidents and Governing Authority Chairs of the eight member universities of the IUA, to send a letter to An Taoiseach, An Tánaiste and four government Ministers to highlight our case. This forms part of a coordinated advocacy campaign that we have been engaged in for many months, indeed years.

You can read the letter here.

As you are well aware, the government definitively identified a €307m shortfall in annual funding to higher education and committed to addressing that shortfall in May 2022 when they published Funding the Future. They also pledged to address the cost of education to students. Since then, progress in honouring that commitment has been painfully slow. Our universities, alongside all other higher education providers, have been closely engaged in a collaborative process with Minister Harris and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science through which we have outlined solid commitments as to how we can play our part in supporting major national priorities in a ‘right-sized’ funding model.

Minister Harris declared in May 2022 that ‘the question of higher education funding is settled’. That is clearly not the case. The extent of the funding shortfall may have been settled, but the actions to address that shortfall are far from settled. That is why we joined together with the other universities to call for action on this issue at the most senior levels of government.

That action must include addressing both the cost of education for students and the deficit in core funding. There is no point in making it more affordable for students to attend college if they enter underfunded, financially stressed universities. We need the fulsome action of government on both counts.

I would urge you, to use all available opportunities to highlight the case for funding and to push for government action. We need to ensure that our politicians understand the importance of this.

Our staff and student community numbers of over 30,000 can make our voices heard for action on this issue if we raise our individual and collective voices. Let’s all push for the funding for our students and universities to be finally settled.

Thank you for your support.

Professor David FitzPatrick

President of Technological University Dublin