FEE

Neoliberalism & the restructuring of Education

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In mid-August, Labour Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn announced both further increases to the “registration fee”, which currently stands at €2000, and the return of tuition fees, which will be payable at point-of-entry, for third level education. Coupled with the massive cuts already to the grants system, this will make it prohibitively expensive for many students to enter and complete third level education, and impose a substantial financial burden on those that do. The implications of this will be further falls in the standard of living of ordinary families and increased indebtedness for young people as they begin their adult lives. For many prospective mature students, their hopes of getting back to education will be ruined.

Anger flares in Galway at Labour Party after protesters attacked with pepper spray

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Saturdays Household tax demonstration in Galway at the Labour Party conference saw angry scenes after Garda attempted to keep the protesters out of sight and sound from the conference venue. Students who were being kept off their own campus were particularly annoyed and led a push against the Garda barriers during which several of them were attacked with pepper spray. They did however succeed in removing the barriers with the result that around 1,000 of the 4,000 or so Household tax demonstrators were able to march to the door of the conference center to protest in full sight of the Labour party delegates inside.

A number of WSM members were present at the protest, either with their various local Household tax delegations or with FEE, the student group. One of them was among the people pepper sprayed. We asked them to give us their accounts of what happened on the day.

FEE Galway March and occupation of AIB

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On Wednesday 29th February, over 200 people marched on the streets of Galway against the government’s ongoing attacks on the education sector. The march was organised by Free Education For Everyone (FEE) Galway in conjunction with NUIG Students Union, to fight back against cuts including the increase of third-level fees to €3000 by 2015, abolition of postgraduate grants and the slashing of the numbers of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs), which FEE views as part of the wider neo-liberal attack on free education and further argues that all of these measures make education increasingly inaccessible to working-class people.

The Budget, Third Level Education & the student occupations

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The changes to fees and the maintenance grants system for new postgraduate students in Budget 2012 comes as no big shock. The €250 increase in the student contribution charge means students will pay €2,250 from next September, with other increases likely to come in 2013 and 2014. In relation to the future of the postgraduates, no maintenance grants will be paid for new entrants from the 2012/13 academic year.

These changes come into effect, after months of campaigning by the grassroots student campaign group Free Education for Everyone (FEE) and the Union of Students Ireland (USI).

Thousands of students demonstrate in Dublin against Education cuts but USI attack their own members

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Over twenty thousand students demonstrated in Dublin today against the introduction of student fees and the cutting of student grants. The main demonstration organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI)also included a Free Education for Everyone All (FEE) bloc comprised of rank & file students in disagreement with the passive lobbying tactics of the USI leadership.  USI stewards formed a line with Garda to prevent FEE rejoining the demonstration after they led a breakway protest at Fine Gael HQ.

(Pic: From FEE twitterstream
USI stewards form 3 rows
to stop USI members
in FEE joining march)

Galway sees Day of action against Fine Gael think-in

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The Fine Gael party was confronted with angry scenes at not one but two different blockades during a meeting of the parliamentary party in Galway city yesterday.   Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his cabinet were attending their pre-budget think-in at the luxury Radisson hotel when some 30 students from the NUIG Free Education for Everyone (FEE) group and the Students’ Union blockaded the entrance in protest at the government’s policy of education cuts, registration fee increases and the ever-looming prospect of full fees.  They were joined by two dozen members of the Save Roscommon Hospital Alliance who were equally intent on showing the Fine Gael party what they think of their callous indifference to the welfare of the working class. 

Riot police attack students after they occupy Department of Finance in Dublin

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Riot police attack students in DublinRiot police attacked students in Dublin today with dogs, armoured vehicles and horses after the students protesting against government cuts occupied the Department of Finance and threw eggs at the Dail.

Upwards of thirty students occupied the Department of Finance in the center of Dublin with a couple of hundred supporting them in the streets outside.

Another larger group of students was reported outside the Dail throwing cans & bottles at it. Several students were injured in the suppression of the protest.

Tens of thousands of students were demonstrating as part of the USI protests against plans to introduce fees. The students carrying out the occupation appear to have broken away from the main demonstration which took place around the corner in Merrion Square. Student members of the WSM, eirigi and the SWP were at the scene. The WSM members published the reports below to this site.

Maynooth Students come out in support of NUIM staff

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Students assembled just before 12pm today in Maynooth to join lecturers and other staff at the National University of Ireland NUI Maynooth on the picket lines for a number of hours.. Solidarity pickets were placed on both North and South campuses of NUI Maynooth.

Organising The Fightback- audio

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This is an audio recording of the '‘Organising The Fightback’' meeting at the 2009 Dublin anarchist bookfair. There were three speakers at the meeting, Gregor Kerr a WSM (and INTO) member, an Executive member of the Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU) and a representative of the Free Education for Everyone (FEE) Campaign.

Organising the Fightback - student & workers perspective from Ireland in 2009 by Workers Solidarity on Mixcloud

Campaigning to Defeat College Fees

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Free Education for Everyone held its first National Conference on Saturday, January 31st. Over forty student activists traveled from UCD, TCD, Maynooth, Galway, Limerick and Cork.

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