Former Union of Students in Ireland (USI) President Annie Hoey was today appointed Labour spokesperson for higher education, innovation and science.
Speaking about her appointment on Twitter, Hoey – who is now a senator – said that she was “thrilled to be announced as the Labour spokesperson on higher ed, innovation and science.”
“I look forward to using my experience of my student activist days in [USI] and time spent on the board of the [Higher Education Authority (HEA)] to constructively work with Simon Harris and Niall Collins.”
Hoey served as the president of USI from 2016 to 2017 and was elected as a Senator for the agricultural panel in April, having previously served on Meath County Council since May, 2019.
Hoey completed her undergraduate studies in University College Cork (UCC) and was national canvassing coordinator for the Together for Yes campaign.
Hoey’s brief will cover the newly established Department of Higher Education which Fine Gael’s Simon Harris has been appointed senior minister for.
Harris said in a video posted on Twitter that the new department will have an “economic focus” and will “drive investment to our country”.
In an interview on East Coast FM yesterday, Harris today said that the third-level sector has been “too reliant” on private accommodation and advocated for more university-owned accommodation.
Harris added that more university-owned accommodation would give “us a greater influence and greater leverage in terms of how we look after and support students”.
Last week, the government announced that it would be investing €4.8 million into a Trinity-led research hub looking into why some people are more susceptible to the coronavirus than others.