“We’ve had enough, so we say #FuckTheFees”: students protest against College Prize in Dublin
Student unions at colleges in Dublin and surrounding areas were in force yesterday to protest the “highest tuition fees in the EU”.
On a cold November afternoon, postgraduates from all over and near the nation’s capital still managed to make it to the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) #FuckTheFees protest in large numbers outside Leinster House.
This week-long series of protests in Cork, Galway and, yesterday, Dublin were staged to protest against the EU’s highest € 3,000 fee that students pay each year in addition to student accommodation .
The protest took place at a stage in Molesworth Street just across from Dáil Eireann and brought together speakers from many third-level institutions in and around Dublin, including representatives from the Trinity College Students Union, DCU and Maynooth University.
One of the first speakers at the event was ICU President Claire Austick. She recalled that Ireland had “the highest (student) fees in the EU” and reiterated that students should only have to focus on their studies, instead of having to surf on the couch or stay in Airbnbs.
NIAC President Caoimhe Cronin spoke about the fact that student unions are not included in government decisions about higher education and said she was fed up with “friends choosing rent over rent. food”.
The DCU Students Union Vice President for Welfare tweeted on the day his own reasons for supporting the protests, revealing his past struggles with the college award.
“I was the first person in my family to go to college – lucky enough to get a scholarship. I still went days without enough money for lunch,” he wrote.
“I graduated with honors, chaired companies and was elected to @DCUSU. #FuckTheFees for those like me who can excel but don’t have the chance.”
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Brioin also supported the event, with a video posted by Sinn Féin’s Twitter account showing him participating and expressing his opinion that “Education should be free to the point of delivery”.
The maximum rate allowed for a so-called student contribution in Ireland for the current academic year 2021-2022 is € 3,000. Students can benefit from the maintenance grant if they meet the eligibility criteria for all or part of it to be covered.
I was the first person in my family to attend college – lucky enough to get a scholarship. I still spent days without enough money for lunch
– Dean (He / Him) ✨ (@Deaneoreilly) 23 November 2021
The government must buy into the program. Students have been left behind by the failed housing policies of successive governments and this has a profound effect on access and how egalitarian our education system truly is. @EOBroin#USI #FuckTheFees #NoKeysNoDegrees #CostOfCollege pic.twitter.com/5x6KZu1LQZ
– Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) 23 November 2021