Students in protest at Gilmore's office


More than 500 students opposed to third-level fee increases protested outside Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s constituency office in Dún Laoghaire yesterday afternoon.

The protest, which is part of the Union of Students in Ireland’s Stand Up campaign, saw students from DIT, UCD, St Angela’s College in Sligo and Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology march from the Dún Laoghaire Institute’s campus to Mr Gilmore’s office.

The march began at 1.10pm and on arrival outside Mr Gilmore’s office, USI president John Logue claimed the Tánaiste, who used to be president of USI, broke his promise to students when he came into Government.

“Thirty-four years ago, the man who was standing here talking to you as USI president would be Eamon Gilmore and 34 years ago, Eamon Gilmore would have said that education is a right and not a privilege,” he said.

“In fact, in February of last year, Eamon Gilmore would have said the same thing, but the minute he got into office, he reneged on his promise.”

Mr Logue said the Labour Party could regain support from students.

“They can be a great party again. We have to believe that they can. The only way we can convince the Labour Party to stand up for what they believed in is by getting out on the street, not just once, but time and time again,” he said.

“It wasn’t just students out here today. There were parents and local businesses as well, because the community at large is starting to realise what impact higher education has on the country.”

Mr Gilmore was not in his office at the time of the protest, but two members of his office staff were presented with a large copy of the pledge to oppose fee increases he signed alongside Ruairí Quinn.

Gardaí confirmed there were no incidents during the protest.