OVER 1,500 students from UCD are expected to attend the protest organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) against the introduction of fees for third level education.
The protest, which will take place on Wednesday 22nd October, will begin at O’Connell St and will continue as students march to Dáil Éireann.
Students’ Union (SU) Campaigns & Communications Officer, Dan O’Neill said that he was hoping for a large number from UCD to attend the event and show their disagreement with the re-introduction of third-level fees.
“It is very important that UCD students attend as we’re the biggest university in Ireland… it’s an issue that will affect most of us and if not personally, maybe a family member or maybe down the line, some of us will have children and it will affect them”.
Adding that tomorrow’s protest will be “the best opportunity to voice our message that we’re against the reintroduction of college fees”, Mr O’Neill that he is confident that the event will be a success if it “gets students moving, thinking and standing up for their student rights and even wider issues”.
USI President, Shane Kelly said that he was “fairly confident” that there would be a good turnout for the protest, stating that he hoped that students from every third-level institution would turn up to support the argument against third-level fees.
“This is the common issue in relation to protecting access to education and protecting the fundamental rights of people” explained Mr Kelly “This is an issue that unites all other student movements”.
In recent weeks, students have held demonstrations against fees across the country. Students in third-level institutions in Galway, Limerick and Cork have held protests to express their opposition towards the re-introduction of fees. Smaller demonstrations have taken place over the last number of weeks to raise awareness of the issue including a demonstration in the Institute of Art and Design in Dún Laoghaire (IADT) which took place last week.
Mr O’Neill has argued against the re-introduction of third-level fees stating that “When I came to UCD, I felt like a student. I don’t feel like a consumer and I don’t feel like the lecturer is selling me a product”. He explained that he feels “education is something that society as a whole should cherish and invest in. Both economically and socially, we can only stand to reap the benefits of a good educated society in the future”.
Students last protested against a government proposal to introduce university fees in 2003.