By Sorcha Jowitt
Another campaign against fees will be launched by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) in an attempt to curb any increase in December’s budget.
However the new seven step campaign is not fully approved yet, according to USI President, Gary Redmond, “The seven step plan has not been fully agreed by members yet. The plan begins with lobbying and escalates from there but we hope we do not have to move up to seven. The USI will do everything it can to fight college fees.”
The actions involved in each step of the campaign have not yet been revealed but Mr Redmond said the USI “are not ruling anything in or out.”
Although very few protests have occurred Mr Redmond says a lot of work is going on behind the scenes to prevent a further increase in fees or cuts in grants, “We meet with our SU reps once a month. I suppose it is not very visible from the outside but they have been lobbying a lot of individual politicians and there has been a huge amount of activity behind the scenes.”
Dublin City University Students’ Union (DCUSU) said it “would like to offer the Minister our assistance in helping devise a realistic strategy that will continue to make third level education reachable for the majority of school leavers. DCUSU feels that there needs to be a process of discourse and interaction; not just between Government and leaders in higher education, but also the students.”
While the USI and Irish students’ unions plan to work with the Minister, the Minister is also organising research into the issue before any decisions are made. Sarah Moroney from the Department of Education and Skills’ press office said the Minister has asked the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to look into the relationship between student numbers, funding and the quality of education. Findings of this researched are expected to be released in the next few weeks.