The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have announced a march on the Dáil on October 4th demanding the Budget 2024 surplus of €65 billion be used to tackle the student accommodation crisis and soaring college costs.
USI said students should send a clear message to politicians to listen to their demands or “face them at the ballot box in the next local and general elections.”
“It is raining now for third-level students who are suffering financial hardship or dropping out of college due to the lack of affordable student accommodation and other costs,” the USI said in a statement.
USI published its Pre-Budget Submission Paper, calling for free public transport for students, 30,000 new student beds and the introduction of a rent freeze until the cost of living crisis has been neutralised.
“Ireland’s budget surplus is expected to reach €65 billion in the next two years. It’s inexcusable that students couch-surf, commute long distances, and have no hope of a future in Ireland while government has the capacity to fund that future,” said USI President Chris Clifford.
“A long-term investment in the unstable higher education sector is an option for government right now. Finance can no longer be used as the excuse, but rather the priorities of our politicians. Students’ priorities have been dismissed under this and previous governments.”
Clifford said “education is no longer treated as a public good in Ireland.”
“Successive governments bear the full responsibility for the current student living crisis, which degrades students and the concept of scholarship,” he said.
This planned protest follows a meeting between student representatives and politicians in July at a Lobby Day where the USI emphasised “how bad things are for students now and what needs to be done to support them.”