A GROUP of about fifty students stormed the Department of Education in opposition to the reintroduction of college fees last week. Students from across the country marched to the Department of Education, after a demonstration organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
A number of students ran past security and into the grounds of the building where they began their demonstration before Gardaí were ordered the protesters to leave the grounds.
USI Deputy President, Dave Curran explained that the demonstration was not as dramatic as it had been portrayed, saying “the main idea of the protest was to have sit-in on the department, just having the presence inside the department for a period and then leaving”.
Adding that the students were confident that they conveyed their message to both the government and the public, Mr Curran outlined that students want to earn support from members of the public by illustrating the negative effect of the reintroduction of third level fees. He stressed that the students hope to show the government that “students are not happy.”
Arguing against the reintroduction of college fees, Mr Curran stated that “fees would deter a lot of people from going to college, it would be a backward step”.
He aims to run a larger campaign and increase pressure, once students are back after the summer break.
Minister for Education and Science, Mr Batt O’Keefe courted controversy after suggesting that fees for third level education could be reintroduced. The proposal was made in response to a funding crisis among Irish universities and was met with outrage from students around the country.
USI hopes to continue to maintain pressure on the Minister for Education and the Government by staging demonstrations throughout the year. These demonstrations will be held around the country with a national demonstration to be held in Dublin in February.