On Wednesday October 19th education took to the streets. Over 550 Maynoothians all dressed in blue travelled to Dublin city to rally in protest against the increase of student fees.
They were joined by thousands of students from all over the country from colleges in Dublin, Galway, Sligo, Carlow, Waterford, Limerick and Cork. The crowd was estimated to contain 15,000 people, exceeding many student bodies expectations.
Each college marched united to create awareness for the harmful effects that introducing income-contingent loans would have on the young people of Ireland.
This scheme was proposed in July by the Cassells report concerning funding for higher level education. This proposed model and others are to be discussed by the Oireachtas. The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) called for a protest to support the recommendation of publicly funded education, generated by taxation.
The Students marched across the city and came to a climax at Merrion Square by government buildings. Along the way they carried pickets, banners and flags.
Raised voices chanting “Education is a right, not a Privilege” and “What do we want? Free education! When do we want it? Now!” circulated in the crowds.
Many wore t-shirts describing the effect €20,000 worth of debt would have on their lives. One student’s read ‘My student debt is not going to allow me a future.’
The students’ voice was echoed through speakers at Merion Square. These included USI president Annie Hoey and mature student Carly Bailey who expressed the catastrophic outcome these loans would lead to, such as emigration and the breakdown of communities. “Don’t create another policy that is detrimental to our young people.” said Ms. Bailey.
For more information follow this link: http://usi.ie/educationis/