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Campaigning to Defeat College Fees in Ireland

category ireland / britain | education | news report author Dienstag März 24, 2009 00:46author by J. Carax - Workers Solidarity Movementauthor email wsm_ireland at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors

Free Education for Everyone held its first National Conference on Saturday, January 31st. Over forty student activists traveled from UCD, TCD, Maynooth, Galway, Limerick and Cork.

The morning’s session was devoted to an internal debate on what kind of campaign is needed to defeat fees, reports from the five FEE branches around the country updating everyone on their recent activity and a discussion on developing a national structure for the campaign. A public forum entitled "How can we defeat fees?" followed with a panel consisting of Dave Curran, Vice-President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Aidan McGrath, chairperson of the National Youth Organisation, Julian Brophy (UCD FEE) and Aine Mannion (Galway FEE).

February 4th saw the long anticipated 'National Day of Action against Student Fees’ organized by USI. FEE put a lot of effort into building for this protest - both to ensure the biggest attendance possible, and to make crucial points about the need to go beyond this demonstration, and build a real movement across the country that can genuinely defeat fees. In the end, a slightly lower than expected but positive number of 15,000 students and supporters marched through the streets of Dublin.

At the end of the protest, FEE led a three hundred strong breakaway march to the Dail where a token sit-down protest was held for just over an hour. Afterwards, the group went en masse to the USI 'campaign training' open meeting in the Dublin Institute of Technology where we made the point that February 4th should be the start and not the end of the campaign to defeat fees. Interestingly, in his speech Dave Curran mentioned the possibility of a one day nationwide third level education shut down, a tactic that FEE had been encouraging USI to take for weeks.

With Batt O'Keefe bringing his proposal for third level fees to cabinet in April, time is not on our side. Get involved, email FEE at

This article is from Workers Solidarity 108 published in March 2009

The rest of WS108 can be read online or downloaded as a PDF file

Workers Solidarity 108 cover

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irelandmaptourposter.jpg imageLessons from the Mass Student strike in Quebec - Ireland tour September 2013 23:12 Mo 16 Sep by andrew 1 comments

In 2012 the attempt by the government to Quebec to introduce a 75% fee hike was defeated by the organisation of a mass student strike that lasted over 6 months. That fee increase was part of the global process of imposing the privatisation and commodification of education. Since the victory, organisers of the strike have been being doing speaking tours to aid the process whereby "youth and students everywhere are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to organize as a means to defend education as a social right". In September this tour reaches Ireland where we need to hear how a sustained and militant student movement that can win is built.

usicops.jpg imageThousands of students demonstrate in Dublin against Education cuts but USI attack their own members 01:17 Fr 18 Nov by Andrew Flood 0 comments

Over twenty thousand students demonstrated in Dublin today against the introduction of student fees and the cutting of student grants. The main demonstration organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI)also included a Free Education for Everyone (FEE) bloc comprised of rank & file students in disagreement with the passive lobbying tactics of the USI leadership.  USI stewards formed a line with Garda to prevent FEE rejoining the demonstration after they led a breakway protest at Fine Gael HQ. (Pic: From FEE twitterstream
USI stewards form 3 rows
to stop USI members
in FEE joining march)

standofffromabove.jpg imageIrish riot police attack students after they occupy Department of Finance in Dublin 23:44 Fr 05 Nov by Andrew, Odhran, Sam Johnny 0 comments

Riot police attacked students in Dublin Weds Nov 3rd with dogs, armoured vehicles and horses after the students protesting against government cuts occupied the Department of Finance and threw eggs at the Dail. Upwards of thirty students occupied the Department of Finance in the center of Dublin with a couple of hundred supporting them in the streets outside.

students.jpg imageResistance to re-introduction of college fees in Ireland 19:44 Di 02 Dez by J. Carax 0 comments

On October 22nd, in the biggest show of student strength in many years in Ireland, over 15,000 third level students marched through the streets of Dublin. They were united in their opposition to the Budget’s 67% College Registration Fee increase and Minister for Education, Batt O’Keefe’s threat to bring back full college fees by September 2009

nipsa.jpg imageIreland: Classroom assistants' solidarity; union leaders' betrayal 00:56 So 06 Jan by x 0 comments

In early December classroom assistants in the North returned to work after a series of strike actions which had gone on since September. This action by the classroom assistants showed in stark form the two faces of the trade union movement.

On the one hand there was the tremendous bravery and solidarity shown by the workers themselves in standing up to attempts to bully and harass them back to work. On the other hand was the duplicitousness and skulduggery of some trade union bureaucrats who not alone did their best to undermine the dispute but actively worked with management and politicians to betray the workers.

logo_header.gif imageCommercialism in Irish schools 18:26 Mi 31 Jan by Gregor Kerr 0 comments

Anyone who has had a child in primary school over the past couple of years has no doubt heard of the ‘Tesco Computers for Schools’ scheme whereby in return for vouchers collected when you do your shopping, Tesco give ‘free’ computer equipment to schools. You’ve probably also heard about Tesco’s ‘Sport For Schools and Clubs’ and SuperValu’s ‘Kids in Action’ schemes. If you’ve seen the TV ads for the SuperValu version, you’ll probably associate SuperValu with healthy, happy kids.

Logo imageNew Anarchist Youth site! 23:51 Di 23 Mai by ('',) 0 comments

Check it Out!

imageIrish eduction struggles: Moving from Protest to Success Feb 08 by Gregor Kerr 0 comments

The Education Cuts announced in October’s Budget have unleashed a wave of protest across the country. During the months of November and December approximately 120,000 people took to the streets of Dublin, Galway, Tullamore, Cork and Donegal to register their anger at the government’s attempts to make schoolchildren pay for the financial crisis. Cowen, Lenihan and O’Keefe have been left in no doubt about the level of popular opposition to these cutbacks. In addition thousands of 3rd level students have also taken to the streets and participated in marches, pickets and blockades to protest at the proposed re-introduction of fees.

imageAn Anarchist's perspective on the Education System in Ireland Aug 16 by Ciarán O'M 1 comments

When the Irish education system is taken into perspective, from preschool to 3rd level, each period of transition is flawed in its own way. Strong ties between the church, the state and our primary and secondary schools affect the growth and education of children from the moment they enter the schooling system to the moment they leave. "Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."
Oscar Wilde

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