University of Sanctuary: UL's life-line to those in direct provision system

SCHOLARSHIPS:  LIMERICK'S 'UNIVERSITY OF SANCTUARY' FOR REFUGEES

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

University of Sanctuary: UL's life-line to those in direct provision system

Some of those who attended the citizenship ceremony at the University of Limerick this week, as 355 people were made Irish citizens Picture: Oisin McHugh / True Media

SEVENTEEN scholarships have been offered to asylum seekers and refugees by the University of Limerick.

UL has now been designated a University of Sanctuary in recognition of its initiatives welcoming those in direct provision into its university community.

Dr Mairead Moriarty, chair of the University of Limerick’s Sanctuary steering committee, said that the current refugee crisis “tests the inner strength of our educational culture”.

“At the University of Limerick we firmly believe that a university education should be a possibility for all. We have been committed to providing access to our university for people from all backgrounds and we are delighted to extend this to people currently living in direct provision,” said Dr Moriarty.

President of UL, Dr Des Fitzgerald made the announcement as the campus hosted the first citizenship ceremony, where 355 people from around the world received their Certificates of Naturalisation, officially becoming Irish citizens.

Dr Fitzgerald outlined that UL has committed to a three-year action plan to promote access and to integrate those from a refugee and asylum background into third level education.

The scholarships are being offered to those aged over 22 and the majority will begin the Mature Student Access Certificate in September for the academic year 2017/2018.

Scholarships comprise a fee waiver and a contribution towards travel, on-campus subsistence, stationery, printing and IT requirements.

This certificate is a one year full-time pre-degree course designed for mature students who wish to develop or refresh key learning skills, and to undertake some foundation level academic studies, before applying directly for a degree programme.

City of Sanctuary is a movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome, especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution. Dublin City University was earlier designated a university of sanctuary.