Eire: cutbacks a drawback

March 12, 2004

Matthew Neuberger, 22, is enjoying his social life in Dublin and his study at Trinity College, by far the most popular college for overseas students.

He has no Irish connections, yet he has felt very welcome in Dublin. He was one of four students who came to Trinity at the same time from the same independent school, St Paul's, in Barnes, London.

His English accent never causes him any problems, apart from the odd drink-induced barb about 800 years of history.

"I wanted to go to Europe to university and I thought Trinity was a good opportunity. I'm glad I did, but now I am anxious to get out and get started," the final-year economics student said.

Academic standards at Trinity are as good as in many UK universities, but Mr Neuberger notices the effects of cutbacks in state funding over the past two years.

Trinity, he says, is the best-known Irish institution abroad and he would not be surprised if applications from England swell when top-up fees are introduced.

University authorities are keeping an eye on developments but are more focused on the immediate crisis over funding.

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