Colleges plan to march locally against possible fee increase

Owen Hickey

Reporter:

Owen Hickey

LIMERICK students are to march in Limerick city on Wednesday to protest against a possible rise in fees in December’s Budget.

LIMERICK students are to march in Limerick city on Wednesday to protest against a possible rise in fees in December’s Budget.

Students from LIT, Mary I and UL will march from Arthur’s Quay to Bedford Row at 3pm.

Upon arrival at Bedford Row, they will stage a scene showing the choices available to them should the Government increase fees.

This latest protest follows the national demonstration in Dublin last week, when students from around the country took to the streets to voice their opinions.

Over 600 LIT students took part, with UL sending over 150 and Mary I also sent a significant number.

LIT students focused their protest around an ‘education graveyard’ theme, with students carrying crosses and skeletons as they marched.

They aimed to show the consequences a rise in fees could have for education in Ireland.

LIT student union pre besident Barry Maher outlined the situation students now find themselves in.

“With further increases to registration fees and further grant cuts, students will have no option but to emigrate or to join the thousands that queue for the dole every week.

“Education is such an important element and should not be taken for granted. If education costs keep increasing it will result in only the rich being able to afford college,” he said.

MISU vice-president Noel Byrne described the situation as “worrying”.

“The amount of students who have told us that they will seriously have to reconsider continuing on their education if the fee increases and their grant is cut is worrying.

“The government can’t expect the economy to recover and grow if they restrict young people attending college,” he said.

An estimated 20,000 students from around the country took part, and they were particularly aggrieved with Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn, who made a pre-election promise not to increase fees.