15,000 in third-level fees protest in Dublin

“As more than 15,000 people protested against the potential return of college fees yesterday, Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe signalled that student loans or a graduate tax could form a key part of the Government’s plans for third-level funding. Traffic in Dublin city centre was brought to a standstill as protesters from third-level institutions across the country marched from Parnell Square to the gates of Government Buildings on Merrion Square to say they will not pay for shortcomings in the education sector’s budget. The march, which was organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), started shortly before 2pm and moved across the city to the beat of steel drums and chants of ‘no cutbacks, no fees, no Fianna Fáil TDs’. Placards bearing slogans such as ‘Obama wants change, you can’t have ours’ and ‘don’t steal our future to hide your incompetence’ summed up the spirit of the march, which gardaí estimate involved over 15,000 people. USI president Shane Kelly said the event allowed students to voice their concerns about fees, which he believes would turn higher education into an unaffordable luxury for many people …” (more)

[Seán Flynn and Steven Carroll, Irish Times, 5 February]

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