Welcome to the College Tribune’s live coverage of the Union of Students in Ireland “Stop Fees, physician Save the Grant” demonstration in Dublin city centre. Throughout the day we will be bringing you updates from our reporters and photographers in the city centre.
12.06: That concludes our live coverage for today. Thanks to all of those who helped out and to everyone who joined the discussion online.
21.31: Follow the @CollegeTribune on Twitter as we will be tweeting live from the student sleep out very shortly.
21.21: Some photos from earlier today. (Photos: Donie O’Sullivan)
19.42: Students are camping out on Marlborough street tonight.
19.27: The USI President Gary Redmond and Education Minister Ruairi Quinn appeared on the Six One News watch it here>>>
17.47: FEE now in Cassidy’s on Westmoreland St, Gardaí are no longer following
17.37: Donie O’Sullivan states that FEE have left for Westmoreland St
17.30: UT report that FEE group moving and possibly heading towards Graduates Memorial Building
17.22: UT are reporting that FEE have occupied room 3074 and that the Junior Dean has been called
17.17: University Times reports that 25 FEE members have been evicted from room 3074.
17.11: Garda Press Office estimates 15,000 while De Brun states closer to 30,000. Gardaí confirm that the march passed peacefully
17.08: Sleep-out will go ahead
17.02: Photo from the Edmund Burke Hall
16:56: FEE have been kicked out of the Edmund Burke Hall in TCD
16.51: FEE now going into TCD
16.45: Indications are that FEE are going to TCD for debate
16.41: Peter Hamilton is reporting that FEE moving towards TCD
16.40: Minister Quinn will be on six one news
16.38: Reports indicate that FEE breakaway has mostly disbanded for the day
16.32: FEE now moving down Merrion Sq North
16.27: FEE supposedly returning to FG HQ, Gardaí making an effort to surround them
16.24: Donie O’Sullivan reports that the main demonstration is now over.
16.23: FEE breakaway are currently on Merrion Square South
16.21: Peter Hamilton confirms that FEE are being obstructed from joining the main protest by Gardaí and USI stewards.
16.17 FEE are heading towards main protest. Gardaí and USI stewards currently in between FEE breakaway and main protestors.
16.14: Gary Redmond is reading out the pledge which Minister Quinn signed earlier this year promising that fees would not be introduced
16.12: According to University Times, FEE protestors appear to be leaving. More details to follow
16.05: 50 FEE representatives engaged in sit down outside Fine Gael HQ
16.03 : Micheal Gallagher a UCD student whose parents have emigrated recently is addressing the crowd
15.59: FEE still blocking the road to FG HQ
15.57: Gerry Adams spotted at the side of the USI stage
15.56: Riot police spotted at Setanta place.
15.53: Word from Fine Gael HQ confirms breakaway however the Gardaí are present at the scene. Estimates at 15,000 people in attendance
15.51: Workers’ Solidarity Movement
15.50: Fee Ireland tweet moments ago
15.48: University Times correspondent Jack Leahy states that there are a number of drunk students at the back of the protest, no incidents so far.
15.42: Confirmed reports of eggs being thrown at photographers on stage
15.42: Michael Martin present at march
15.40: March has arrived
15.37: Peter Hamilton talks to Michael Healy Rae
15.36: Donie O’Sullivan reports that Gardaí with dogs are patrolling the grounds in the back of the Dáil
15.28: March now moving down Nassau Street
15.25: Reports of eggs being thrown at Gardaí at the TCD/Dawson St Junction
15.25: Photo of USI stage
15.17: Attempt at sit-down protest outside TCD gates stopped by Gardaí and USI
15.17: March passing Trinity College Dublin, all information received indicates good atmosphere.
15.15: Tweet from WSM Ireland, reports unconfirmed as yet
15.07: Dublin Bus at a stand still. Conor Fox reports that the march is still peaceful thus far
15.06: Donie O’Sullivan reports that Dawson St and Kildare St are blocked off by Gardaí
15.04: Just in from Workers’ Solidarity Movement
15.02: March has reached College Street
14.59: Reports indicate that the tail end of the march is just passing the GPO.
14.56: Dublin Bus Tour takers support the march
14.53: Photos from Dylan Haskins
14.48: Reports in on the march crossing O’Connell Bridge, all peaceful.
14.45: Donie O’Sullivan reports that students are being asked to remove facial coverings
14.43: Tweet in from Peter Hamilton
14.41: Pat de Brun – ‘March going good’ impossible to estimate but thinks 30,000 students
14.35: Early reports suggest that protest extends from Gardens of Remembrance to O’Connell Bridge
14.35: Unconfirmed reports of eggs being thrown at the Gardaí and flares being lit.
14.27: March entering O’Connell Street
14.25: Newstalk interview with Minister Quinn
14.23: Gardaí have just given the nod for the march to begin
14.19: Mounted Gardaí at the march
14.12: Tweet from Donie O’Sullivan
14.09: Students carrying a coffin labelled RIP Smart Economy
14.04 DIT Banter Soc giving their take on the protest
14.00: Photos from Tribune journalist Peter Hamilton
13.49: Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins states that he doesn’t think that protest is enough, the students need to step it up and calls for a national student strike in an interview with College Tribune reporter Donie O’Sullivan.
13.45: Tweet from College Tribune journalist
13.10: UCD students on the move
12.03: Buses have arrived in UCD, the move to town is underway
11.57: IT Carlow students make their way to Dublin
11.34: An increased security presence is expected across the city centre today
10.53: USI give us an indication of the timeline of today’s events.
10.20: Student representatives across the country have been Tweeting this morning.
10.14: Up to two hundred buses are expected to be en route to the capital this morning bringing thousands of students to the demonstration.
10.11: Students may be marching in the rain, like last year, as Met Eireann’s forecast for Dublin today informs us.
“Dry at first today, but rain and drizzle will develop and will become heavy and possibly thundery during this afternoon and early evening. Risk of local spot flooding later. Highs today of 11 or 12 C., today.”
10.07: Thousands of Trinity students will be carrying copies of Ruairi Quinn’s pledge to students according to Rachel Barry, TCDSU Education Officer.
10.00: A letter from the youth wing of the Labour Party, Labour Youth is published in today’s Irish Times.
“Sir, – Today, the Union of Students in Ireland will hold a demonstration in protest against any further cuts to student grants, the reintroduction of student fees, and any further increase in the student contribution. Labour Youth will stand shoulder to shoulder with the USI to march in defence of the right to universal provision and equality of access in education, in accordance with 15 years of Labour policy.
Children and young people must not be made pay for this crisis; they played no part in the destruction of our economy and their education is the key to our recovery. Labour Youth believes that the education budget, along with payments and services for children and young citizens, must be protected in Budget 2012, and that they could be protected if we decide, as a society, that we are willing to find the funds to do so. Ireland was already a low-tax, low-spend economy before the crash; we are now moving, with little debate, towards a short-sighted but long-term cutting down of our services to meet the level of our collapsed tax base. There are alternatives, and they have been outlined by Tasc, Social Justice Ireland and Ictu to name a few.
The Labour Party contested the general election on a 50/50 platform between public spending cuts and tax increases; Fine Gael advocated a 75/25 ratio.
The final figure has been set at roughly 60/40. The taxes-versus-cuts debate is not an academic discussion: it is a political tug-of-war between Labour’s social democratic principles and the centre-right views of Fine Gael. The flawed logic of austerity dictates a €3.8 billion adjustment this year; within these confines, the deviation from Labour’s original 50/50 proposal as an outcome of coalition equates to over €380 million in additional cuts.
To put this in perspective, the entire adjustment to the Education and Skills budget in 2011 amounted to €307 million. Reaching this figure meant a 5 per cent reduction in capitation grants, including grants for adult literacy, community education, the school completion programme and Youthreach – to save €22 million. It meant cutting grant rates to college students, curtailing benefits to mature students, and drastically reducing eligibility for the higher non-adjacent grant payment – all to save €51 million. It meant reducing support payments to trainees on Fás and VTOS schemes to save €9 million. It meant increasing school transport costs, increasing the student contribution by €500 to €2,000 and foisting a new €200 charge on Post-Leaving Certificate students. Cuts to education have also meant budget-balancing restrictions on resource teaching and a crude and insensitive cap on the number of Special Needs Assistants.
In the years to come, the children and young people of today will ask what we did in 2012, when the Troika was in town and Western economies lurched towards recession. We could say that we forged a social contract to protect them from the elements, that we made sacrifices to find that extra 10 per cent in funds, and that we protected education from the fallout of the banking crisis. That would be a statement befitting a real Republic. It seems unlikely that Enda Kenny will make this statement when he addresses the nation in December, but it is a choice available to us, and we will march today with the students of Ireland in defence of that alternative. – Yours, etc,
The Labour National Youth Executive: CONOR RYAN, National Chairperson; LUKE FIELD, Vice-Chair Campaigns Officer; NOEL CULLEN, National Secretary; DEIRDRE HOSFORD, Education and Policy Officer; COLM MAGUIRE, Communications Officer; AIDEEN CARBERRY, Recruitment Officer; CIAN MORAN, International Officer,
C/o Landscape Road,
Churchtown, Dublin 14.”
9.55: Welcome to our live coverage, we wil be updating throughout the day with pictures, videos and your Tweets so make sure to join the discussion, @CollegeTribune & #stopfees , or email firstname.lastname@example.org