3,000 students protest against fees in Sligo


AN ESTIMATED 3,000 students protested against the proposed re-introduction of third-level fees in Sligo.

Students chanting "no cutbacks, no fees, no Fianna Fáil TDs" who poured into O'Connell Street for the lunchtime rally were told by the Mayor of Sligo councillor Veronica Cawley (Labour) that they were right to draw a line in the sand and to say "enough is enough".

Daniel McGarrigle, president of the students' union at Sligo IT, urged students to make sure they were registered to vote in time for next year's local and European elections. "We do not want a Fianna Fáil and Green government if they do not look after the future - we are the future," he said. Maria Hickey, president of the students' union at St Angela's college in Sligo told the gathering that Budget cuts meant that many of their students would not find employment in this country.

Dave Curran, vice-president of the Union of Students of Ireland said parents with two or three second-level students would not be able to afford third level education for all of them if fees were re-introduced.

Students carried a variety of posters such as "the Batt-man is Robin students" while one waved a placard saying "Ford Fiesta for sale" followed by his mobile number .

• Minister for Integration Conor Lenihan pulled out of a debate at University College Dublin last night due to "security concerns", writes Genevieve Carbery.

Some 50 students protesting over registration fees gathered on campus last night and viewed the cancellation as a "victory". The concerns were raised by UCD authorities earlier this week for both the ministers safety and that of others participating in the debate, a spokeswoman for the minister said.

Mr Lenihan was due to speak at a Literary and Historical Society debate on religious symbols and and "greatly regretted" not being able to attend the event, his spokeswoman said.