Diaspora Senator Billy Lawless calls for Minister for Education and Skills to end discrimination against Irish Citizens abroad for Third Level Free Fees Initiative

22ND February 2017

Continuing his campaign of advocacy for the Irish abroad, Senator Billy Lawless this afternoon called on the Minister for education and skills to stop the practice of discriminating against Irish Citizens abroad in the Free Fees Initiative at Third Level. Senator Lawless, who continues to highlight the barriers to returning Irish citizens including car insurance, driving licences and buying a home, today pointed out the innate unfairness which exists in the free fees initiative.

Senator Lawless drew attention to Article 2 of the Constitution which states that “it is the entitlement and birthright of every person born on the island of Ireland, which includes to its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland”. He told the Cathaoirleach that crucially, he wished the Minister to consider the final passage of Article 2 which reads “Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad, who share its cultural identity and heritage.”

Senator Lawless asked “How can the Department, the Higher Education Authority, or Third Level Colleges can determine that an Irish citizen who has resided in Ireland for three years is more worthy of access to a system than our Irish citizen living abroad?”