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Dublin: 20 °C Saturday 26 July, 2014

Student grant protests planned across the country today

The protests come as the USI attempt to mobilise a voting block of 50,000 students in a database by the local and European elections next year.

Students from UCD and the Institute of Art and Design protesting last year.
Students from UCD and the Institute of Art and Design protesting last year.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

STUDENT DEMONSTRATIONS HAVE been organised around the country today and the Union of Students Ireland is seeking to put additional pressure on the Governemnt by mobilising a voting block of 50,000 students by the local and European elections next year.

The demonstrations will take place in Dublin, Cork and Sligo against potential cuts to the maintenance grant in the upcoming budget.

USI President Joe O’Connor said that the union have begun voter registration drives in campuses across the country are “ready to demonstrate their electoral power” in this week’s double referedum. The USI is calling for a ‘No’ vote in the Seanad referendum.

The registration drives are both adding students to electoral register and placing those already registered on  a new database that allows the USI contact them directly about the the union’s political positions.

O’Connor says that they so far have 5,000 students on the register and hope to increase that figure to 10,000 before the end of the week when they will communicate their position.

The new register will also provide information to students based on their specific college and also by their constituency, allowing them to directly link students to their local representatives says O’Connor:

Obviously this is a much longer term project. If we reach our target even for this year of 50,000 that will be on average a thousand votes in each constituency around the country. So in terms of swinging elections, especially for the last seat, you’re talking a few hundred votes so certainly we feel we can have an influence and can radically effect the results of any referendum or election.

Today’s protests will begin at 1pm at UCC, 1.30pm at Sligo IT and 4pm at Molesworth Street in Dublin.

Read: Gardaí gave ‘misleading’ information to Ombudsman on student protest >

Read: Some 3,000 students have had their grant refused or cancelled >

Read: I’m not an aggressive secularist – Quinn >

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