Irish students occupy politicians office as Budget Day nears
By: Daniel O'Carroll | Published Monday, December 5, 2011, 10:15 AM | Updated Sunday, August 4, 2013, 5:29 AM
|Budget Day is Tuesday 6th December|
Eight Irish students have refused to leave a local politician's office as the occupy phenomenon hears an echo in the student movement and Budget day fast approaches.
The students told Ireland's national broadcaster RTÉ that they have chemical toilets and food to last a week – and they aren't going anywhere unless they are forcibly removed or the poltician in question (Anthony Lawlor, FG) commits to voting against any grant cuts or fee rises in parliament.
The student occupation, led by protesters from Maynooth SU, is just one such incident in the past few days.
Nine students who took part in an occupation and roof climbing of Galway TD Brian Walsh's constituency office were released without charge on Thursday, while earlier in the week the Union of Students in Ireland led a brief sit-in protest at the Department of Social Protection, after having earlier attempted similar protests at the Labour Headquarters.
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The hotly anticipated and feared Budget 2012 is to be published this coming Tuesday, December 6th, at 4:30pm, and is widely expected to include the first of several measures aimed at increasing the cost of third level education, which many fear will force students out of college.
Ireland currently charges students €2,000 (~$2,600) per year for college education, but political leaders have made clear that the figure will have to increase in the face of ever-rising student numbers and ever-falling resources.
As Ireland's economy continues to weather stormy waters, a surge in students seeking out a haven in higher education has placed an unprecedented strain on government resources not equipped to deal with the surge in demand.
Labour Party TD Ruairí Quinn has also come under heavy criticism after effectively reneging on a pre-election pledge not to increase or stand over a rise in college fees should he come to power.
That pledge has already been broken and students have no reason to believe that the same thing won't happen again this Tuesday.