Trinity College Dublin Provost wants Brexit measures for students firmed up
The Provost of Trinity College Dublin has said arrangements for Northern Irish students must be "copper-fastened" after Brexit.
Dr Patrick Prendergast was in Belfast yesterday to address an audience of Trinity alumni.
In January there were concerns a hard Brexit would see fees soar for local students wishing to study in Irish universities.
Dr Prendergast said he welcomed confirmation from the Irish Government this would not happen for current students and those applying for 2019/20. This means students will continue to pay a contribution fee of £2,700 a year.
"The Irish Government have done a lot in clarifying fees for the upcoming year and for current students," he said.
"But really, we would like to see greater clarity in the long run. What's going to happen decades into the future?
"I believe something should be done, at least in the UK and Ireland, to see that arrangement copper-fastened long into the future."
Some 763 students from Northern Ireland applied to Trinity for 2018/19 but this has now dropped 20%.
Uncertainty over Brexit as well as high Dublin rental prices have been cited as the main reasons.
Northern Ireland currently has 1,200 Trinity alumni, including 700 in Belfast.
"I'm travelling to Belfast to assure them that Trinity College Dublin is still their university, that they should see the advantages of studying here for their own sons and daughters and wider networks," said Dr Prendergast.
"People in Belfast tend to forget how close Dublin is; it's only two hours down the road and Trinity is very welcoming to students from all over Ireland and the UK."
He said Trinity, established by a royal charter in 1592, had always seen itself as a university for the island of Ireland.
It is also seeking to boost their appeal with new schools in law and engineering plus building accommodation for 250 students to offset the Dublin housing crisis.