As part of the continuing Gilmore’s 250 campaign, UCD Students’ Union has been collecting letters from students who are currently struggling to afford to stay in higher education. Over 350 letters were received by UCDSU last week.
The Gilmore’s 250 campaign has been designed to fight against increases to the Student Contribution Charge and cuts to the grant by targeting Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, whose political party Labour, signed a pledge to students last year promising not to do either. The letter stunt is one of several follow-up actions to last week’s march on Gilmore’s office by 500 students.
UCDSU Campaigns and Communications Officer Paddy Guiney has been lecture addressing and collecting the letters following the lectures in order to build up the numbers for the SU. He explained the idea behind the letters: “The main aim of the letter writing campaign is to show Eamon Gilmore and the Labour government that we are going to continue this campaign until we get the right answer for students.” The letters collected by UCDSU will be sent to Gilmore’s constituency office on Monday, and excerpts from them will be published online.
UCDSU President Rachel Breslin believes that maintaining pressure on the government up until Budget Day on December 5th to keep their promise is the best way to ensure that fees are not increased. She explained that “students and our families are at breaking point. The nonchalant attitude of Labour leadership towards these families and to the sacrifices they have made to get their children into education is reprehensible. These families were promised that college would not become more expensive under a coalition government… Students and families feel cheated and angry. The will is there to keep campaigning and escalating the campaign until it is successful.”
The SU have a further stunt planned to take place at the UCD Lake on Tuesday, December 4th, the day before Budget Day, in an effort to maintain pressure on the government. This effort will be accompanied by meetings with Labour backbenchers with some of the sabbatical officers, in order to gain support for the cause.