Senator Higgins highlights inequalities in education arising from COVID-19

Alice Mary Higgins 02 Blue
Alice Mary Higgins 02 Blue

Over the last number of weeks, I have been corresponding with the Minister for Education and Skills on issues raised by Covid 19 at every level of our education system. This crisis has deepened inequalities already faced by many students, I have called for particular action on the difficulties faced by students in direct provision. I have also pressed for a ‘no detriment’ policy and policies that ensure real opportunity and choice for all leaving cert students. In a time of emergency we cannot allow vulnerable communities to be left behind -  I have also highlighted the challenges faced by Ireland’s research sector and called for more flexible and ambitious funding across science and the humanities, including more public-public research. The collective challenges we will face in terms of society, culture, economy and environment over the coming months and years will require research of many different kinds. The Irish Research Council funding for research on the Sustainable Development Goals is one example of a project which could and should be scaled up as we try to ensure future resilience and sustainability. Education can and must be an accessible and enriching social good. 

Lastly, as part of the wider reimagining of our public spaces, I have called for an investment in better cycling and pedestrian infrastructure around our schools to ensure that safe and sustainable transport is an option for more families next September. 

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Senator Alice-Mary Higgins welcomes decision not to permit hedge-cutting in August and calls on Minister Madigan to review the Heritage Act and to protect biodiversity

The decision by the Minister not to extend hedge-cutting into August this year is an important recognition of the growing crisis in biodiversity in Ireland and worldwide.
Senator Higgins said in response to today’s announcement, “I am glad to see Minister Madigan has apparently given new consideration to the serious concerns expressed by myself and others during the extensive Seanad Debate in the Heritage Bill and has removed the threat of August cutting from the habitats which our insects, birds, bees rely on. The essential next step must be to review this flawed legislation and ensure that biodiversity is protected not just this year but every year.”