Ó Cuív restrains student at protest


MINISTER FOR Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív says he fears for the safety of workers at his office in Galway following a scuffle at NUI Galway on Tuesday evening.

The Minister admitted restraining a student at the university when Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe arrived to announce the construction of a new €50 million engineering building. About 50 students staged a protest protesting at the proposed reintroduction of university fees.

Mr Ó Cuív said he and his personal assistant were backed into a corner as they tried to enter a building. "I had to forcibly restrain one student as he was squashing my secretary and I in a corner. My secretary was very upset as this student had a piece of timber."

Mr Ó Cuív said his assistant had to deal with students occupying his constituency office in Galway recently.

Muireann O'Dwyer, president of NUI Galway Students' Union, said there was no justification for Mr Ó Cuív's actions.

"It was a peaceful protest. The first sign I saw of anything getting aggressive was when the Minister chose to manhandle the student. All the students were shocked and many called for the Minister to calm down and to release the student, which he did after about a minute. It was unnecessary for the Minister to engage physically with the student," she said.