Quinn to colleges: Make cuts or I will

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has told Irish third-level institutions to make "painful" cuts or the Department will do it for them.

Ruairi Quinn said there was too much "doubling up" of courses, such as engineering and the sciences, between institutions and that greater productivity was needed across the sector.

He also announced the Government is not currently considering a student-loan scheme.

Large crowds of students protested outside the meeting against rising fees and the backlog of grants.

The Minister said there was not enough cooperation between initiations and that changes to the academic calendar were needed.

He admitted some changes would be painful, but were necessary. He said his preferred route was to have the colleges decide on and implement the reforms "with the local knowledge they have in a way that we (in the Department) could never possess".

But he warned: "If they don't make them by the end of the year, they will be made for them by me on the advice of the (Higher Education Authority), and we will not make them as subtly or as carefully (as they would themselves)."

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