Students protest over cuts to grants


Thousands of students yesterday turned out to demonstrate against cuts to maintenance grants and “threatened increases” in student-fee contributions.

According to the Union of Students Ireland (USI), which co-ordinated the protest, over 3,000 of its members from NUI Galway, GMIT and Athlone IT participated in the action in Galway city.

They moved from a rally at Eyre Square to the office of Labour TD Derek Nolan.

The protest had been billed as part of a nationwide series of events planned to raise awareness on the issue.

“The thousands of students who came out today sent a clear message to the Minister for Education and Science that they can’t take any more increases in student charges or cuts to the grant,” said NUI Galway students’ union president Paul Curley. “Students are well aware that the country is experiencing a financial crisis and they’re not looking for more than anybody else. It’s about investment.

“When funding is cut students end up dropping out of college halfway through their course.”

Mr Curley said the protests would not dissipate, and that yesterday’s action would represent just “one step” in an ongoing campaign.