Student Unions ratch up pressure on "half baked" Minister

The students are revolting again.

And while that may not be news to anyone, their latest spate of irateness may.

An unusually strongly-worded press release from the University College Cork (UCC) Student Union called Ireland's Minister for Trade, Employment and - ironically - Innovation "half baked" and "lackluster" in his approach to stemming the rising tide of graduate unemployment.

Daithi Linnane, the Union's Deputy President, repeated a call first made by the national equivalent of the UCCSU to "get real" on the issue.

The press releases capture acurately a building frustration among Ireland's youth at the fact that despite holding enviable academic qualifications like Masters and PhDs they're unable to hold down or even get a job position - even at the local grocery store. Openings at petrols stations are regularly inundated with hundreds of resumes - that's how bad it's gotten.

A recent protest in Dublin was directed against the exact same phenomenon. Students chose to protest outside the famine ship memorial, the message being that the Airbus 330 has replaced the old bows and oars of the infamous famine ships which were the visible symbols of the last wave of forced emigration; the e-ticket and Shannon Airport being the iconic images of this one.

As a student this latest news-piece has a more visceral effect than most.

Unlike, say, a piece about the American recession, which I may read with distant and detached empathy, there's something very personal about the graduate unemployment dilema.

The reason, of course, is that in a little under a year I'll be one of those graduates. Holding a BCL law degree from UCC I too may be joining the ranks of the SU and discommoded students protesting against a bleak future - and heading into an unknown one.


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