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Student sleep out cancelled after Gardaí refuse permission

The Union of Students Ireland said it had been indicated that the protest could go ahead and permission was refused at the last minute.

The student camp out at the Department of Education last year.
The student camp out at the Department of Education last year.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE UNION OF Students Ireland (USI) has cancelled its student sleep out at the Dáil which was due to take place tonight after Garda permission was refused last night.

The sleep out was organised by the USI in protest against the 3 per cent cut to the income threshold for the student maintenance grant and the ongoing SUSI grant application crisis.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, President of the USI John Logue said a Garda had told him that the protest could go ahead and that they would be on duty to watch over it.

“We set out preparing for it, we had tents, print outs and all of this is at a significant cost to us,” he said.

“We thought it was still going ahead up until 7pm yesterday evening when we got an email from the office of the superintendent.”

“The email said that under no circumstances was this to go ahead and when I called to find out why I was told it was a change in decision and was given no other reason for it,” he said.

Logue said normally the union has a good relationship with the Gardaí and has held protests all over the country with their cooperation.

“We even had a similar sleep out at the Department of Education last year and actually offered to move this demonstration to there but that was refused as well,” he said.

“People are feeling a lot of frustration because we had people coming from all over the country for this and some of them were already on their way.”

A spokesperson from the Garda Press Office told TheJournal.ie that the function of the Gardaí is to facilitate protest where possible but the decision was made to refuse permission “due to the nature of this protest”. The spokesperson added that “public safety has to be kept in mind”.

Logue said the union is disappointed with the outcome as “it would have been a good way to finish the year” but he said the USI plans to “ramp it up” in 2013.

Read: Six students arrested after sit-in at Taoiseach’s constituency office>

More: Enda Kenny ‘egged’ at UCD>

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