'I'll have to drop out if I don't get a grant'
A sea of student protesters swept through Dublin city centre yesterday, sending a powerful pre-Budget message to the Government.
The choice facing Roisin Ralf, a marketing student from Tipperary, is stark -- life on the dole beckons if third-level fees increase.
"It's more than likely I'll have to drop out of college if I don't get a grant," says the Tallaght IT student.
"I've applied for one but I haven't heard anything. I'm really worried because if I don't receive the grant I'll more than likely end up on the dole, which I really don't want.
"I've tried to get a part-time job but there's nothing out there. My father is on the dole and my mother is the only one working. Her job is only part-time.
"The pressure this is putting on my parents is huge," she added.
USI president Gary Redmond told the crowd: "Four days out from the general election, Ruairi Quinn was outside Trinity College and stated that he would not increase the student contribution any further and not cut maintenance grants.
"Now we have a Government in hiding. We are sending a message to that Government: shame on you."