Ireland’s seven universities have begun a campaign aimed at encouraging the public to demand that the Government tackles what they say is the funding crisis in Third Level education.

The universities point out that State funding per Third Level student, at €5,000, is barely half of what it was a decade ago and a fraction of what it is in other similar-sized European countries.

They say Budget 2019, while providing a small funding increase, did not address the underlying gap in funding.

The Irish Universities Association says it has developed its campaign, called Save Our Spark, following more than two years of inaction after the publication of the Cassells Report, in which meaningful funding reform for higher education was recommended by a Government-appointed expert group.

The campaign will encourage people to sign a petition urging their local TD or Senator to act now.

It will include advertising on national and regional radio stations, on public transport, and on social media. 

IUA Director General of said: "If the higher education crisis is not addressed by Government urgently, then we risk a serious drop in quality or a shortfall in places for students in the future. 

"For the first time ever, all seven Irish universities are coming together to demand urgent action on the funding crisis, as we need substantial investment to accommodate the extra students that are expected to enter the system over the next decade."