Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
University of Sanctuary

Seven asylum seekers and refugees will receive scholarships to study at UCC

The college joins DCU and UL as a University of Sanctuary.

shutterstock_654829678 D. Ribeiro via Shutterstock UCC D. Ribeiro via Shutterstock

SEVEN ASYLUM SEEKERS and refugees will receive full scholarships enabling them to study at University College Cork (UCC), which has been designated University of Sanctuary status.

The first of the annual scholarships will come into effect from September 2018. They will cover full fees and tuition, in addition to a number of annual bursaries covering travel and expenses.

Speaking to, Karl Kitching, UCC’s Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said the decision is “hugely significant” as it aims to help refugees and asylum seekers overcome the “financial and cultural constraints” they face in attaining a third-level education.

Kitching said, in terms of education, “people living in Direct Provision or arriving as a Programme Refugee may not be aware of what is available to them”.

Many people in this situation are not in a position to go to college due to the prohibitive cost.

“Young people can be extremely demoralised from their experience in Direct Provision…

People’s dreams are dashed. Regardless of how long you’re in the school system, it can be extremely demoralising to do your Leaving Cert and know you can’t afford to get into the colleges your friends will be going to.

“We’ve seen asylum seekers and refugees come through UCC and the incredible contribution they make, their strength at overcoming incredible odds. We really welcome a diverse pool of people coming to UCC,” Kitching said.

Applications for the scholarships will open this summer and pre-entry support workshops will be held to help students apply. A support structure will also be in place once they start their course. Students can apply via the CAO system and must be under 23 years of age on 1 January 2018 to apply.

Direct Provision

For the past two decades, UCC employees and student societies have been engaging with local asylum seeker and refugee communities.

Lecturers Dr Jacqui O’Riordan and Mike FitzGibbon, who have campaigned through grassroots organisations for an end to the Direct Provision (DP) system, were recently presented with UCC Exceptional Citizen Awards for their work supporting asylum seeker children and adults living in DP.

About 5,000 asylum seekers are currently living in DP centres around the country. People in the centres are provided with meals and given a weekly allowance of just €21.60. The system was set up as a six-month measure 17 years ago.

UCC will launch its inaugural Refugee Week next month, with events taking place from 5 to 9 February – including a lecture by Unesco Chair in Refugee Integration Professor Alison Phipps titled ‘What is Refuge? Who Decides, and How?’ on 6 February.

Dublin City University and the University of Limerick have previously received University of Sanctuary status from Places of Sanctuary Ireland.

Read: Asylum seekers may only be allowed to work in certain jobs

Opinion: ‘Ireland is well placed to respond to the needs of migrants and refugees’

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel