With even more financial distress on the cards for students this year, the USI Rally for Education tomorrow morning looks to be pivotal for the cuts they will have to endure in Budget2014, writes News Editor Niamh Geoghegan... As the impending threat of cutbacks and fee hikes fastly looms, the Union of Students in Ireland’s National Educational Rally is seen as a defiant stance against Government plans.
Happening tomorrow, the Rally is expected to commence at 11.30 am from the Garden of Rememberance before marching to the Dáil where protestors will hear an array of speakers and activists.
The Rally is supported by many organisations such as SIPTU, ICTU Youth, Young Worker’s Network, We’re not Leaving, Defend the University and many more. As president of USI, Laura Harmon explains that this support is expressed through the variation of speakers at the event. “We will have a speaker from SIPTU and the President of the Irish Second Level Students' Union. We will also have Professor Ronnie Munck from the Defend the University campaign”, Laura said.
Musical guests are also scheduled to perform, reinforcing their support of the Rally. “Performer MissElayneous will also be in attendance, as will the Original Rude Boys who support our campaign”, she added.
After endless hours of organisation and preparation, the USI see this rally as a vital means to complement their lobbying efforts.
“We hope that the rally will garner media and public interest to raise awareness of the need to protect student supports in Budget 2015”, Laura said. Laura hopes that thousands will participate in the march and it seems that her expectations are valid, as students were quick to announce their support for the Rally.
Niamh Cullen (20) an arts student from St. Patrick’s college feels that the whole situation is truly unfair. “I'm going because I think it's unfair that they expect us to pay out so much for education when there's no jobs in the country for when we're finished our degree.”
While Brendan Bentley (20) a sports management student in Blanchardstown Institute of Technology felt that the Government are attacking an,’easy target’, by increasing college tuition fees. “This is the Government making it more difficult for the next generation. It shows the Government’s disregard for education and this quick fix of money will be worth so much less than some of the young minds they will have stopped from going to college.”
Karl Redmond (22) an international relations student in DCU also expressed his frustration over the whole situation, claiming that the Governement will only listen if the student body fight back. “The voice of the young generation is often overlooked in government policy, so the historic tradition of young people getting out on the streets to make their voices heard must be upheld during these hard times”, he said. “It must be shown that any unfair increase in fees wil be fought back on the streets and on the ballot paper”, he added.
Fiona Hyland (19) a journalism student from DIT feels that the Government are merely hindering Ireland’s future employees. “I’m going to the Rally to show the Government that they’re slashing real people’s education. We are the people of the future, but we won’t be able to afford our education with crippling college fees and a measly grant.”
Various colleges have also decided to organise buses to bring students to the march, in the hope to increase the ever growing numbers. With student support rife, and as the campaign garners public attention, it seems that third-level expectations will be heard quite loudly tomorrow.