University education will be accessible to Ukrainian refugees, says minister


The government is committed to ensuring that Ukrainians fleeing the war can study at Irish universities.

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has also confirmed that Irish students who have fled Ukraine will be able to continue their studies in Ireland, after places are made available by universities.

The majority of these students were studying medicine or dentistry.

Mr Harris met the Irish Universities Association (IUA) on Monday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine and the response from Ireland’s third tier.

It comes as Ireland prepares to accept potentially tens of thousands of refugees from the war-torn country.

Mr Harris said the most pressing issue facing colleges and universities will be English language support.

“It’s crucial to ensure people have the ability to understand the information presented to them and to help them integrate into Irish society,” he said.

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said the government was working to ensure Ukrainian refugees can access Irish colleges (Brian Lawless/PA)

“We will also have to provide employment opportunities for people and give them the opportunity to continue their studies.

He said getting Irish students back into classes in Ireland was an “immediate priority”.

“My department has contacted them all and they are deeply traumatized by what happened. We will endeavor to provide them with support and care.

“IUA universities have confirmed that they will provide the necessary places and we look forward to working with them on this.

“We will also work collectively to ensure that Ukrainians can access higher education here too.”

On Sunday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Ireland’s humanitarian response trumped security checks as Ukrainians arrived.

Mr Martin said the state had so far accepted 5,500 people fleeing the Russian invasion and could accommodate more than 100,000.

He said Ireland’s priority was the humanitarian response to what he called “the worst displacement of people since the Second World War”.

“Our primary impulse is to help those fleeing war,” he said.


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