A minister has said they will not be "looking at that for the near future"

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has welcomed an indication from the government that they're scrapping plans for a student loan scheme.

According to the union, Minister of State Mary Mitchell O'Connor told a student outside Leinster House: “In Galway last week, the Taoiseach and I have both said that student loans are off the table.

"There is no plan in the department looking at that for the near future.”

The 'study now, pay later' model is used in the UK and US, but critics say it burdens students with thousands of euro of debt.

It had previously been proposed as one potential option for funding higher education here, but any such plans now appear to have been scrapped for now.

USI President Michael Kerrigan says they've been campaigning against such a system for a long time.

He said: "This is welcome news, and we're looking forward to more clarity on the statement - and hopefully inside Leinster House rather than outside it."