USI launch nationwide protest

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) in association with local Students’ Unions have launched a regional Stand Up campaign this year across twelve cities in Ireland protesting key concerns including the rise in fees for third level education and cuts to the Student Maintenance Grant.The series of protests across Ireland was launched from Cork on Monday, 5th of November, and is expected to continue throughout the month in various cities leading up to the release of Budget 2013.Students in major towns and cities with third level institutions will march on the constituency offices of selected TDs who previously held stances on higher education funding.USI president John Logue said he is confident the protests will not be taken over by the student elements that have occupied the department buildings in recent years.“They may well come and it may well happen and little can be done about it. Crowd control would be much easier and the bulk of the crowd coming will be there peacefully to support the cause,” he said.Large preparations are being put in place for the Dublin Student protest on Tuesday, November 20 said John Logue. The annual protest in Dublin is expected to be larger than previous years.The annual third level education fee now stands at €2,250 and is expected to increase by €250 every year until 2015 rising to €3,000. The hikes, explained Logue, not only affects college students and parents but also the local business and the economy.“Businesses will be hit by losses of over €33m due to a reduction in disposable income of parents and students as a direct result of college fee hikes and cuts to the student maintenance grant,” he said.“This series of protests will be the largest mobilisation of students in USI’s history. We expect thousands of students and parents to stand up to their TDs in towns and cities across Ireland. Their message will be clear: ‘We’re fed up of fee hikes, grant cuts and graduate unemployment. Stand up for us and for promises made to a generation of Ireland’s youth,’ he said.The USI have also launched a youtube video to back up the campaign. The three minute clip features a number of stand up comedians 'standing up' for the 'Fed up? Stand up.' campaign.