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Libraries and bars empty as student voters register

THIRD-LEVEL students abandoned lecture halls, libraries, canteens -- and even emptied bars -- to register to vote yesterday.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) will visit Leinster House today to officially launch its 'Your Future, Your Vote' campaign.

But meanwhile, the special tour bus already got on the road yesterday and hundreds of students in Carlow College, IT Carlow and Tipperary Institute registered to vote on campus.

USI is aiming to sign up 50,000 students to vote in the next fortnight -- and it is adamant students will have the power to influence change.

President of IT Carlow Students' Union Kate Acheson said young people would have to shoulder "years of crippling debt" because of the mistakes of this generation of politicians. "We will not tolerate a single second more of lacklustre governance from Irish politicians.

"On polling day, politicians in every corner of the country will realise that students are no longer a dormant force," she said.

USI President Gary Redmond said Ireland was spending billions of euro on educating young people before sending them abroad.

His sister Joy is just one example, he said, as she moved to Australia to find work.

"There are parents every single day of the week in the airports all over the country saying goodbye to their children."

USI will meet all of the political parties in the coming days to ask them about their policies on college fees and grants.

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