Sinn Féin leader and TD, Gerry Adams, has called on DCU students to “stand up” and call for a “different type of Ireland”. Adams was speaking at the Union of Students in Ireland public talk promoting the “fed up stand up” campaign held last Monday in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dundalk.
He told The College View, “DCU students need to stand up for their right to education, it has come to the point where only the wealthy can afford to go to college. “It’s not Irish and it’s bad economics to exclude certain socioeconomic groups from the right to education.”
Adams called on the current government to make changes. “We have to make allowances in relation to college fees, the government have cut the grant and now they intend to further increase the fees, it is the same with other sections of society, for example the disabled and home help.”
Adams reinforced the importance of DCU students being proactive in achieving this change; he feels students need to make connections with all aspects of the community and unite as one force to oppose these cuts to higher education. Speaking to The College View, he said DCU students have to “make connections and build upon an organic network throughout communities”.
The USI talk was the first of 15 being held around the country to highlight the growing concern over the cost of college for the average Irish student and how the increased registration fees will affect the level of education or lack of, as a result.
The Sinn Féin leader also offered some advice for Irish students in rallying support and targeting public representatives. He said students needed to “get TDs to raise the issue of the registration fees within their own parliamentary group”. He explained that this tactic has worked in the past and successfully turned the government on a number of issues.
He commended the USI for their work and pledged his “full support” for their current campaign. He also commented on the “progressive attitude” of Irish students in their bid to oppose the further cuts to higher education grants and increased registration fees.