Three arrested in UCD as students protest about fees

Tue, Oct 21, 2008, 01:00

EDUCATION CUTBACKS:"NO CUTBACKS, no fees, no Fianna Fáil TDs" was the rallying cry of students who gathered in University College Dublin (UCD) last night to protest against the possible reintroduction of third-level fees.

About 100 students took part in the protest, many bearing banners, ahead of the arrival of Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan, who was chairing a function at the Clinton Institute on the Belfield campus.

A strong Garda and campus security presence were on hand to monitor the protest and three people were arrested for breaches of the peace. The arrests came following two minor scuffles when protesters attempted to break through a metal fence surrounding the entrance to the building.

The students began to sit on the ground in an attempt to block the entrance to the venue shortly before 6pm and chants of "this Government has disgraced themselves" filled the air. Mr Lenihan entered the building through a side door.

"We're here to say that if the Minister is going to create a barrier to students coming to university, we're going to create a barrier for him coming on to campus," UCD students' union president Aodhan O'Dea said.

"This is our campus and if fees come in next year it will create a barrier to thousands of students."

Mr O'Dea was also critical of the increase in college registration fees, from €900 to €1,500, introduced in last week's Budget.

"Of the extra €600 implemented on registration fees, none of that is actually going to students, so students are angry about this and it is going to affect everyone." Thousands of students from across the country will attend a protest against fees in Dublin tomorrow, he added.