Students display frustration at Government fee plans

By Yvonne Reddin

The rain did nothing to deter the determination and mood of the student “Education not Emigration” protest march on the 3rd of November. 

Colleges nationwide arrived at Parnell Square to voice their frustration and disappointment in the Government’s proposed education cuts.  Coaches lined up on busy city streets with eager students joining the national march, banners and attitude in full view. 

The civilised, well organised march continued down O’Connell Street with rapturous support from local shops and city shoppers and workers, making its way towards Leinster House, finishing at Merrion Square.

Students got their point across and DIT Student Union President Ciaran Nevin said “We got a massive turnout; the colleges are empty on DIT campuses.  It shows the commitment and fear that’s out there amongst the most vulnerable of students.   We are facing total decimation if this goes ahead.    It’s only one of the stages of a long campaign and today is a total success.”

With almost 467,000 people in Ireland now unemployed, high levels of personal debt, house repossessions and tens of billions spent to bail out banks, education cuts are no alternative.  The needs of people and students are put way behind the banks and the rich which is the reason Ireland has nothing to offer graduating students but emigration.

The march turned unpleasant in the afternoon when a number of protestors occupied the foyer of the Departemnt of Finance with a sit-in protest. Violence broke out as Gardaí removed the protestors with force. A number of  students and bystanders required hospital treatment.  Three people were arrested at the scene.  USI president, Gary Redmond condemned the violence in what began as a civilised protest.  There have been claims the peaceful march was hijacked by radical left-wing groups like ‘Eirigi.’

The Government has to come up with a four year Budget framework to try and convince foreign financial markets that Ireland is serious about reducing its deficit.   With a by-election and a budget from hell in December, the public’s aspirations and hope of some kind of turn-around is abating along with the public purse.

Student reaction to the cuts: audio

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