independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Hundreds of students protest at Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore’s office over cuts and fees

Catherine Golden from Mayo with Clare O Connor Monaghan and Rebecca Gilmore, Galway pictured during the IADT and UCD protest over college fees , outside Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's constituency office in Dun Laoghaire yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath

AROUND 500 college students protested outside the Dun Laoghaire constituency office of Eamon Gilmore today over proposed Budget cuts to grants and fee hikes.





Carrying placards and chanting 'Gilmore Out, Out, Out', the crowd cheered the speakers.

Rachel Breslin, president of UCD's Students' Union, said: "Students cannot be an easy target again. Families struggling to protect their children's education cannot be an easy target, not on our watch".

President John Logue told the crowd: "The only way we can convince the Labour Party to stand up for what they believed in is by getting out on the street, not just once, but time and time again. The critics will tell you a small group of determined people cannot change the course of this country - tell that to the first person who lit a candle for Savita last week and the message going around the world. We can change the course of this country".



However, the Tanaiste wasn't in his office at the time of the demonstration - he was in Brussels at a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers over the civil war in Syria.

But two of his staff accepted a presentation of a giant-sized copy of a pledge signed by Mr Gilmore and Ruairi Quinn during the 2011 general election campaign to "oppose and campaign against" any form of fee increases.



The students were from UCD and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology were demonstrating as part of the Union of Students Ireland's (USI) 'Fed Up Stand Up' campaign, and the protest was part of a nationwide series of events planned to raise awareness on the issue.



Similar rallies were held today in Sligo where students from St Angela's College protested outside the office of junior minister John Perry, and also in Dundalk outside the constituency office of local Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick.



Another demonstration is planned for noon on Thursday outside the Department of Education on Dublin's Marlborough Street.

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