United Left Alliance supports tomorrow's USI demonstration and calls for students to link up with other sectors to fight austerity
Minister Quinn's U-turn on proposed reintroduction of fees a nasty con on students
Ahead of tomorrow's USI demonstration which promises to be the biggest anti-austerity mobilisation so far this year the five ULA TDs made the following joint statement:
"Among the many U turns perpetrated by the government since it took office in March the volte face on the reintroduction of student fees has to stand out as among the most blatant. All credit to the USI for fully exposing Minister Quinn and his Labour colleagues.
"The reintroduction of fees, which is the clear intention of this government, on top of the registration and administrative charges already levied on students which are rightly seen as fees by another name will clearly serve as a barrier to thousands of people from low and middle income backgrounds from entering third level.
"The recent proposals by the Higher Education Authority that places in third level be capped will, if implemented, turn the points race even more into a mechanism for rationing places.
"Minister Quinn's announcement this week of the cutting of grants to post grad students likewise makes a nonsense of government rhetoric about our future prospects lying with the 'knowledge' economy.
"Let's be clear, Ireland's spend on education at all levels as a percentage of GDP is well below the OECD average. We need more investment in education not less.
"This government has unintentionally boosted the likely attendance at tomorrow's demonstration because of its appalling U turn being exposed. A significant demonstration will serve as a warning shot for the government but by itself will not be enough to stop them in their austerity drive. What is clearly needed is a plan for escalating actions including occupations and strike days.
"We urge the leadership of the USI not satisfy themselves with a strategy of a one off demonstrations followed by lobbying for crumbs. Likewise we encourage the USI leadership not to be ambivalent on the issue of defending the pay and conditions of University staff. This can only play into a divide and rule scenario which suits the government.
"Instead we positively urge the student movement to link up with all other sectors who are feeling the brunt of the austerity. A ULA leaflet tomorrow will appeal to students to link up with the Dublin Council of Trade Unions and Alliance Against Austerity pre budget demonstration and People's Assembly on 26 November. Such a link up between students, workers and unemployed is absolutely vital if we are to achieve the numbers and pressure necessary to take on the government and EU/IMF austerity drive."