Student Protest

"If there was a loan scheme in place, I would not be able to go to college" - Students' views on college fees

Here’s what students at yesterday’s protests had to say.

THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS took to the streets of Dublin yesterday calling for more funding and support for third-level education.

They came from far and wide to march alongside their peers, voicing anger over a proposed student loan scheme and chanting that they wanted free education.

We caught up with some to get their views on some of the most important issues today.

IMG_20161019_143910 Philip Shanahan (far right) with friends from college. Cormac Fitzgerald / Cormac Fitzgerald / /

Name: Philip Shanahan

College: Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT)

Age: 31

Course: Video and sound technology (mature student)

“If there was a loan scheme in place I would not be able to go to college. I would not be able to go out and better myself.”

I think education should be free. I think when it comes to putting a quote on things it just never works. If fees were to come in fewer students would be going to college definitely.

“If there was a loan scheme coming in, I would not be able to get that opportunity.”

“I think it’s a deterrent for education, and if there are fewer people going to colleges it means fees will go up.”

A certain element of college needs to be run as a business. There has to be some way of getting students in the door to pay for equipment and classes and lectures, the whole lot

“But what’s going to happen is, if there are fewer people coming in they’re just going to jack up the prices.”

IMG_20161019_144105 Naoise McHugh Cormac Fitzgerald / Cormac Fitzgerald / /

Name: Naoise McHugh

College: Dublin City University (DCU)

Age: 21

Course: Multimedia

“I’m here because my parents were able to afford to send me to college; I’m here because I’d like to not leave college with massive debt.”

“I’ve had a lucky background and even so I’d be leaving college with huge amounts of debt.”

If at my level of privilege I can’t handle that much debt, how is someone who’s less well off coming out? They’re not coming out at all possibly.

“Education should absolutely be free. It’s vital, it’s a fundamental human right, it’s how we build a better society.”

We can’t make a better world, or have a recovery, or progress if we don’t have free education.

IMG_20161019_144452 Holly Martin (second from left) and her friends from college. Cormac Fitzgerald / Cormac Fitzgerald / /

Name: Holly Martin

College: National University Ireland Galway (NUIG)

Course: Speech and language therapy

Age: 19

“People came out to us last week and said there’s a rally on, are you interested?”

“We said ‘what is it all about?’ It was the first  time we had heard about the student loans.”

“So we did a bit of research, bought a ticket for the bus and here we are.”

I think the student loan idea is ridiculous. You’re going to be paying four grand every year – that’s €20,000 minimum. You’ve got rent, accommodation on top of that and then all your extra living costs.

“I think it’s absolute rubbish.”

“Education should be free. Keep the system as it is now if there’s no way of improving it – just keep it for now.”

If you stop people going to third level then you’re not going to develop as a country.

Read: “We cannot take this anymore” – Thousands of students take to the streets of Dublin

Read: FactCheck: Does Ireland really have the “highest education” in Europe?

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