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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 18 November, 2019
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Secondary students fight back against the media's obsession with water charges

TheJournal.ie received some interesting letters in the post today…

ON THE NIGHT of Tuesday 18 November, Tánaiste Joan Burton attended an event at the National Convention Centre in Dublin.

She was there to launch the College for Every Student mentoring programme, in front of 1,300 young people from backgrounds that are traditionally not well represented at college level.

The Trinity College Dublin Trinity Access Programme (TAP) is open to students from 11 DEIS schools, and is modelled on the American “College for Every Student Scheme.

You wouldn’t have heard about that, but a group of students from Tallaght and Citywest in Dublin have made it their mission that you do.

A handful of letters arrived at the offices of TheJournal.ie this morning from these young people, calling for us – and the media in general – to “embrace and acknowledge the positives in our society.”

1416406551_Trinity Access 0884 Resized Source: Trinity College Dublin

For the record, here’s how TheJournal.ie covered Joan Burton’s remarks at the National Convention Centre, on the following day.

In its report, the Irish Times said:

Ms Burton was speaking at the Convention Centre in Dublin this evening, where there was a large Garda presence, but no protesters arrived.

Three days before that appearance, the Tánaiste was in Jobstown, where she was famously detained by water charge protesters.

At the convention centre on the night of 18 November, Burton was asked about this, and not the CFES programme she was there to launch, as pointed out by Leah Commandeur in her letter:

In my personal opinion, education is important, more important than the water charges anyway. So why couldn’t that be your topic?
Joan Burton was there for students’ education, not the water charges. So why couldn’t you ask her about CFES?

Adrien Namuco, from St Mark’s Community School in Tallaght, described the CFES launch as being focused on “how every student should have the opportunity to go to college despite their financial or social background.”

Instead of writing and talking about CFES, [a journalist] instead asked questions about what happened to Joan on the previous weekend…

Erinn Hannan very powerfully summed up the feelings of her fellow students from Tallaght:

I was very disappointed on the day in question that Tánaiste Joan Burton arrived and the students’ day was overshadowed by the current political situation related to water charges…
…The youth of today are the future of this country and if we are suppressed even during our most important educational days then our fine country will never progress.
I would like to recommend that your newspaper doesn’t always look at the negative side to our country but actually embraces and acknowledges the positive in our society…
Write positive articles about the youth of our country to make sure when we grow older we can play a positive part in the development of our great country.

For more information about the Trinity Access Programme/CFES, click here.

Read: Trinity scheme to offer college places to students below CAO minimum>

‘I was concerned if the car doors opened what would happen next’ – Joan Burton>

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About the author:

Dan MacGuill

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