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Protest: Almost 1,000 Tralee students march to TD's office

It is one of a number of pre-Budget marches taking place to tell TDs that students can’t afford college fees increases or cuts to the maintenance grant.

Image: IT Tralee Students Union via Facebook

ALMOST 1,000 STUDENTS took part in a protest in Tralee this afternoon, gardaí confirmed.

Students from the north and south campuses of IT Tralee gathered at 12.30pm to march on the constituency office of Labour Party TD, Arthur Spring.

Deputy Spring met the students outside his office. He met with USI Deputy President Kate Acheson, and officers from IT Tralee Students’ Union, including its president, Niall Harty.

Acheson commented:

“The large turnout in Tralee today is indicative of the interest we’ve received in this campaign. Thousands have turned out for marches in Galway, Cork, Dublin and in towns across Ireland. While we welcome Deputy Spring’s assurances regarding the preservation of maintenance grant rates, €3,000 fees still loom ominously. The Minister has refused to acknowledge the suffering he has caused students and families and we’re calling on parents of current or prospective college students to contact their TDs and tell them that they cannot afford such an onerously steep fee increase.

During the meeting, the student representatives encouraged Deputy Spring to vote against any Budget measures that would increase college fees and cut the maintenance grant further.

They reported that while he did not make any commitments on this, he said that he was not aware of any plans to cut the grant or to remove funding from the Student Assistance Fund (SAF).

TDs Michael Healy Rae and Martin Ferris addressed students outside the office. The protest was part of USI’s ‘Fed Up? Stand Up’ pre-Budget campaign.

Further protests are scheduled for later this week, with one in Castlebar tomorrow and another in Waterford on Thursday.

(knobbly/YouTube)

Read: In pics: Third-level students march in free fees protest>

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