The level of fees payable by any student at third level should be linked to the fees paid by that student when at second level.

If someone chooses to pay fees at second level (and the circumstances in which it is anything other than a choice are very very few, if any) then why should they expect to be given a free education at third level, or even to receive the same subsidy as others who did not pay fees at second level?

By paying secondary school fees, pupils gain an advantage – why else would they pay them? The league tables for university admission are dominated by fee-paying schools. This does nothing to help the meritocratic social mobility that is vital for any thriving economy.

Those who choose to pay secondary-school fees (whether it\’s €12,000 per annum at St Columba\’s College in Rathfarnham, a mere €3,000 per annum at Loreto Abbey in Dalkey, or even €7,000 for sixth-year at the Institute of Education on Leeson Street) should not be entitled to free third-level education. At the very least, they should pay a higher tariff at third level than those who attended free, state-run secondary schools.

If you choose to pay more then you should keep on paying more.

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