SIPTU representatives have today (Wednesday, 22nd July) cautiously welcomed an announcement of increased emergency funding for the third level sector to deal with issues arising from the Covid-19 crisis. SIPTU Education Sector Organiser, Karl Byrne, said: “Members of the SIPTU Education Sector welcome the increase in emergency funding that has been made available to address the immediate impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the third level sector. However, the current health emergency has exposed serious flaws and shortcomings in the existing funding model. We believe that this can only be addressed through the development of a long-term plan and vision involving all key stakeholders in the sector.” He added: “It is essential that the new Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science, Simon Harris, creates a sustainable funding model for future and the role of private funding in universities. This should include the creation of greater security of employment across the sector by confronting issues around contract and precarious employment, the cost of living crisis for students and to ensure more equal access to higher education.”