Students in Northern Ireland will be able to access the Erasmus programme from September, Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond has said.
“When the United Kingdom left the European Union (EU), they lost access to the Erasmus programme through which thousands of students travel throughout the EU. Unfortunately, the British Government refused to opportunity to continue to participate in the Erasmus programme despite it being offered the opportunity to continue participating by the EU.
“The details of the alternative Turing programme, released last week, will be a much weaker programme that doesn’t cover registration and tuition fees.
“Following an announcement from the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that students in Northern Ireland will be given access to the Erasmus programme through the Irish Government, he has confirmed to me that this will be in place for the 2021/2022 academic year,” Deputy Richmond said.
“With 649 students from Northern Ireland participating in Erasmus in the 2019/2020 academic year, this move will benefit many and also showcase an effective all island approach to higher education. Work is also underway by Minister Harris to extend this initiative to Further Education students to ensure that as many people as possible can avail of this programme.”
Deputy Richmond is Fine Gael’s spokesman for European Affairs.
“By extending access to Erasmus to students in Northern Ireland, we are showing our solidarity with all students on this island and upholding the rights of Northern Irish residents to citizenship of both the European Union, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
“The Irish Government promised they would never leave the Irish citizens of the North behind again, this is further evidence of this.
“All students in Northern Ireland will be able to participate, regardless of their citizenship and students will access Erasmus by temporarily registering with Irish higher education institutions.
“Not only does this initiative maintain the link between the EU and students in Northern Ireland, but it allows colleges in Ireland to deepen their connection with those in Northern Ireland. This will allow for more cooperation in research, innovation and education on our island.
“Higher Education Institutions in Northern Ireland have been very welcoming to this programme and I would urge all students to seriously consider taking up a place on Erasmus if offered. I look forward to continuing to work closely alongside Minister Harris on this.”