Eggs were thrown at Taoiseach Enda Kenny when he was in UCD to open the new Centre and Sports Complex on November 29th.
Two eggs were thrown in protest at his invitation to the event while the government proposes to raise fees and cut the grant in the upcoming Budget. Neither of the eggs hit Taoiseach Kenny, however one reportedly hit UCD’s Students’ Union Vice-President, Martin Butler.
Free Education for Everyone (FEE) took responsibility for the episode, tweeting after the incident “#FEE members have egged Enda Kenny in #UCD. No cutbacks! No fees! No Fine Gael TDs! #stopfees”.
Four students were removed from the centre following the incident. They were reportedly cautioned under Section 8 of the Public Order Act and asked to leave the vicinity of the building. It’s likely three students will face sanctions under UCD’s code of conduct.
Other students protested at the event with some chanting and holding a FEE banner. The UCD Socialist Workers Student Society (SWSS) were also involved in the protest. UCD Students’ Union President, Rachel Breslin, was among the protesters.
Commenting on what happened at the event, Union of Students in Ireland (USI) President, John Logue said: “He (Enda Kenny) promised not to increase student contribution. He is the leader of the country. Sounds like fair game to me”.
Commenting on the Taoiseach’s presence at the opening event for the student centre, FEE said they “were abhorred at the willing and enthusiastic invitation of the leader of government that is actively attempting to increase the registration fee and cut the grant.
“Vulnerable members of society have been targeted consistently throughout this economic crisis. Students have been a part of this attack, leading to mass graduate unemployment and emigration. We vehemently oppose this approach by Fine Gael and Labour.”
The Taoiseach addressed the audience gathered at the event and was then given a tour of the new centre, which includes a multimedia 3D cinema, a performance theatre and a 50m Olympic-specification swimming pool.
Aisling Kett and Aoife Mullen