Published on Monday20thJune2022

Minister Harris visits National Helpdesk for displaced Ukrainians on World Refugee Day


Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today met with staff of the National Helpdesk for displaced Ukrainian people seeking access to third level education in Ireland.

Funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS), the National Student & Researcher (NSR) Helpdesk is hosted by Maynooth University on behalf of the sector, and has seconded people from across the university sector to work on the initiative.

Minister Harris said: “TheGovernment has been unequivocal in its welcome for people fleeing Ukraine, and we are determined to deliver on our obligations to support access to education.

“Of course, this is challenging, but we are not just legally obliged to respond, more importantly, we are morally required to do the right thing.

“I am proud of the leadership the Higher Education Institutions have shown on this matter and the NSR Helpdesk is an important example of collaboration across the sector to assist the people of Ukraine.

“Tomorrow I will bring proposals to Government to assist people fleeing from Ukraine to access third level, but I wanted to be here today to thank Maynooth for hosting the helpdesk and ensuring there is a single point of contact for people who need our help and assistance.”

The National Students and Researcher (NSR) Helpdesk was established on 4 May. Since its establishment, it has received over 900 queries – 709 via email, 175 via telephone, and referrals from both the Irish Universities Association and Technological Higher Education Association.

The Helpdesk is a single national point of contact for all qualified persons seeking to access higher education and will provide information on all HEIs. Its functions are to be a resource for Ukrainian students and researchers wanting to access higher education in Ireland; and to assist them with their documentation and evidence in support of their application.

Professor Eeva Leinonen, President of Maynooth University, said: “On World Refugee Day, we are thinking of the Ukrainian people, and all members of our community who have experienced war, other forms of violence, or those who have been forced to leave their country for asylum elsewhere.

“The invasion of Ukraine reminds us that whether they occur in Europe or anywhere in the world, violent acts that threaten democracy, trample on free will and block access to essential goods and services are an affront to human rights and must be confronted. As a University of Sanctuary, Maynooth University is committed to promote a culture of welcome for refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants into our university community.

“Maynooth University is very involved with Scholars at Risk (SAR) internationally and hosts the Europe Office. SAR is an international network of higher education institutions and individuals working to protect threatened scholars and to promote academic freedom and we’re proud to be at the heart of this initiative in Europe.”