Students from across Cork joined forces yesterday (November 19) to protest against the introduction of third level fees in any form. Hundreds of students from University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology, lecturers, secondary school students and parents came together to stage a picket outside the offices of the Department of Education on Washington Street yesterday afternoon.
The picket was one of the first efforts of Free Education for Everyone (FEE) , an independent anti-college fees campaign that has been launched in UCC and CIT, following the creation of a similar campaign in University College Dublin. The campaign is aimed at putting pressure on government and college presidents to scrap the re-introduction of fees in any form, whether through registration fee increases, stealth charges or the overt introduction of college fees.
The picket comes just weeks after a major student protest in Cork which saw more than 6,000 students take to the street to voice their opposition to re-introduce college fees.
Over the coming weeks and months ahead, FEE will stage a number of protests, blockades and publicity events to highlight their plight and ensure fees are not re-introduced.
Commenting on the picket, a spokesperson for the Office of the Minister for Education said that the Minister is currently preparing a report for government which will look at a range of options on how to address the issue of third level funding whilst providing increased supports for disadvantaged students. This report will be finalised in the next four months and will require approval of cabinet.
Written by Mary O’ Keeffe for the Cork Independent