Sunday 25 February 2018

New USI president pledges to tackle cash concerns

Brian McDonald

THE new president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has vowed to tackle the financial difficulties faced by those attending third-level colleges.

Joe O'Connor (24), a native of Kilmore, Co Roscommon, is an honours accountancy graduate and has completed a master's in Business Strategy and Innovation.

He is the current president of the students' union at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, having been elected unopposed at the annual congress of USI in Ballinasloe yesterday.

He described the financial difficulties facing third-level students as "a massive challenge", while he is also to make the mental health of undergraduates a key priority.

"There is a certain direction that this country has been taking of steadily increasing student fees and it is vitally important that we don't continue in that way," he said.

Mr O'Connor added: "More and more parents are finding they are having to make a decision as to which son or which daughter they will send to college, because they simply can't afford to send them all.

"The issue of students' mental health is also directly linked to the financial problems facing families," he said. "Youth suicide is unfortunately continuing to increase and we need to force the Government to act in a much more effective manner."

Irish Independent

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