Over 6,000 students and trade unionists attended the mass rally for Education as a Public Good on 8th October 2014 in Dublin . Joining student union contingents from up and down the country were trade unionists from SIPTU, CWU, IMPACT, TUI, IFUT and others along with the Union of Secondary School Students of Ireland, We’re not Leaving and other groups.
The first to address the rally was Defend the Irish University spokesperson Ronnie Munck who said ‘Lecturers are with you. We want a higher education system open to all and not a two tier system based on ability to pay’. He went on to say that higher education is”about freedom: to learn, to develop new knowledge and to make Ireland a better place where young people do not see the need to leave the country”
SIPTU head of campaigns Ethel Buckley reminded the audience that students were also workers, often condemned to dead end jobs and that the trade unions would work withe them for a better education system and decent work.
USI President Laura Harmon told the rally
“We’re here today to build a coalition in support of education. Education is Ireland’s hope for a better future – so we’re prepared to work hard to promote the value of it. Students, college staff and trade unions want to work together with other civil society organisations to highlight the central role college can have in the future development of Irish society. Education is valuable, is worth investing in and must be treated as a public good in this budget and beyond.”