Students to protest at local level
Students' annual rally on key issues including fee hikes, grant cuts and graduate joblessness will not be held in Dublin this year but will go ahead at different locations at regional level.
The Union of Students in Ireland is hoping thousands of students will take part in regional protests in coming weeks before the budget as part of their Stand Up campaign. The protests, organised alongside local students’ unions, are in opposition to further college fee increases and cuts to the Student Maintenance Grant.
The first protest will take place next Monday, November 5th, in Cork, where students will march upon Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer’s constituency office.
As part of the campaign, students are encouraged to contact a list of 27 politicians who have been selected by the USI. The TDs and senators have been chosen on the basis of either being in Government, having supported students in the past, having a USI-affiliated third-level institute in their constituency or sharing a constituency with a Cabinet Minister.
A lot of effort had been put into the annual Dublin protest, USI president John Logue said, but a greater impact was needed, and the coming protests would therefore be larger than before.
“This series of protests will be the largest mobilisation of students in USI’s history. We expect thousands of students and parents to stand up to their TDs in towns and cities across Ireland,” he said.
“Their message will be clear: ‘We’re fed up of fee hikes, grant cuts and graduate unemployment. Stand up for us and for promises made to a generation of Ireland’s youth.’”
Mr Logue said he is confident the protests will not be taken over by the student elements that have occupied the Departments of Social Protection and Education in recent years.
“They may well come and it may well happen - and little can be done about it. Crowd control would be much easier and the bulk of the crowd coming will be there peacefully to support the cause,” he said.
Mr Buttimer said he welcomes the USI protest and that he would like to engage with the students. “I have no difficulty with this protest, as long as they don’t interrupt the work going on in my office, or put people off going in,” he said.
“If I am free on Monday I’d be delighted to meet with them.”