O’Brien commends Cork students protesting in Dublin today
Speaking in advance of today’s student march in Dublin, Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Deputy Jonathan O'Brien commended the students for taking a stand against the possible reintroduction of fees or increases to the registration fees and called on the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn to honour his pre-election pledge that there will be no increase in the registration fee or cut to the maintenance grant.
Deputy O’Brien said;
“Sinn Féin is fully supportive of the “Stop Fees, Save the Grant” campaign that USI have launched and I wish to commend the students who are marching today and taking a stand against the possible increase in registration fees or the introduction of fees of any kind – particularly the students of Cork IT and University College Cork who have been very vocal in their opposition to these Fine Gael and Labour plans to turn education in to a privilege rather than a right. Many of these students have travelled to Dublin today, and the Minister for Education would do well to listen to them.
“Access to education as a right is essential if there is to be any economic recovery. This government has consistently targeted the education sector by continuing to implement the same policies as Fianna Fáil which has led to cuts to SNAs and changes to the maintenance grant that have led to increased hardship for many students. This hardship is set to rise, and it is clear from what is happening now that this will lead to a situation where eventually it will be only those who are wealthy that can afford to attend third level.
“I am calling upon Minister Quinn to live up to his own pledge that he will not increase the student registration fee. This would have the effect of forcing those from low and middle income families out of the education system and in to the dole queue because this government’s damaging economic policies have failed to produce the jobs promised.”