By Timmy Kelleher
The Occupy Cork Movement employed a flash mob to occupy the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) Circus Maximus on November 22.
This was the first instance of the Occupy Cork group staging a protest outside of the city centre and engaging directly with students on a college campus. The organisers of this demonstration were first year Social Care students.
The movement shares much of the policies and ideas of its sister campaigns in Dublin, Galway and other cities internationally. The Occupy campaign uses the latest social networking platforms and people power to produce organised demonstrations to get across their message effectively.
Mr Eoghan Macmahon of Occupy Cork said that, “Their voices were heard by the president himself and the Students’ Union got a jolt to the system. For something in the pipeline for only a week or two, organised by a bunch of first years, thats a pretty succesful day.”
The organisers of the one day protest defined it as “a pop-up occupation of CIT to measure support for the Occupy movement, organised by Social Care first year students, networking with media designers using social networking.”
The protest lasted one day and included advice sessions and seminars for students on a variety of issues from sexual health and healthy eating to car pooling.
The protest featured a speech by Occupy Cork protestors and the protesting students also presented a petition detailing their concerns about campus issues to the college President, Dr Brendan J Murphy.
Mr MacMahon justifies the action of the students in CIT by saying, “Occupying students like those in the US have proven that you don’t need a committee… A problem for students is that the student movement has become synonomous with unions and the USI. However, most students’ unions in Ireland are simply not active enough, and have become too bureaucratic. Students need to move now.”
Welfare Officer of the CIT Students’ Union, Niamh Hayes, said she has “been holding a ‘Positive Mind & Body Week’ so the Pre Occupy Cork group decided to run in conjunction with this so as to promote a holistic awareness around the issues they were raising.”
We are a local expression of an international movement of over 1,500 sister occupations all over the world, a space made up of many nationalities, an expression of real democracy. We are acting locally and thinking global.”