Students from Northern Ireland to access Erasmus opportunities from September, Fine Gael confirms

Fine Gael Spokesperson for European Affairs Neale Richmond has confirmed students from Northern Ireland will be able to access the programme through Irish government

Fine Gael’s spokesperson for European Affairs Neale Richmond has confirmed that students from Northern Ireland will be able to access Erasmus opportunities through Irish government in a statement today.

They have confirmed that this will be in place for the 2021/22 academic year.

In his statement, Richmond confirmed that “all students in Northern Ireland will be able to participate, regardless of their citizenship” and students will access the Erasmus programme by “temporarily registering with Irish higher education institutions”.

He continued: “By extending access to Erasmus to students in Northern Ireland, we are showing our solidarity with all students on this island and upholding the rights of Northern Irish residents to citizenship of both the European Union, Ireland and the United Kingdom.”

Richmond continued saying that this initiative will allow “colleges in Ireland to deepen their connection with those in Northern Ireland” and this in turn will foster “more cooperation in research, innovation and education on our island”.

According to Richmond colleges in Northern Ireland have been “very welcoming to this programme”.

Last December, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Research Simon Harris told RTÉ News that he had secured government approval to “extend the benefits of Erasmus+ to students in Northern Ireland even after Brexit”.

This morning,  Minister Harris said there has been a “positive reaction” to the new scheme among Higher Education Authorities in Northern Ireland.

Students in the United Kingdom (UK) lost access to the Erasmus programme when they left the European Union. The UK government was offered the opportunity to continue to be a part of the programme but they refused. 

The UK government unveiled their alternative grant programme, the Turing Scheme, last week. Students from other countries will be able to study in the UK but they will not receive funding under the Turing scheme. 

Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw is current Editor-in-Chief of Trinity News, and a graduate of Sociology and Social Policy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.