FIVE STUDENT UNION officers and one first year student from NUIG and GMIT were arrested this afternoon while staging a sit-in in Enda Kenny’s constituency office in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
The students were protesting over the qualifying income threshold for the student maintenance grant being raised by 3 per cent. It was announced in last week’s Budget.
As he was being arrested, NUIG’s Student Union President, Paul Curley, told TheJournal.ie that they were told a lie:
They [the government] told us that they wouldn’t make any cuts to the maintenance grant but they’ve increased the threshold level.
It’s basically a slap in the face for students because a lot of people will be affected by this.
We are occupying the Taoiseach’s office to stand up for students.
Curley added, “Four of the students chained themselves to the office” and gardaí told them they were being arrested for “trespassing”.
The Union of Students in Ireland says around 8 per cent of the total estimated 80,000 grant recipients will be affected by raising the threshold, with some students receiving a reduced grant and others not qualifying for a grant at all. It estimates that 6,500 students stand to lose up to €750 in maintenance assistance over the course of the academic year.