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'Most days I can't afford food' - Students protest over high cost of college

Students are demonstrating over what they say is the "extortionate" cost of third-level education in Ireland.
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

21.43 23 Nov 2021


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'Most days I can't afford food...

'Most days I can't afford food' - Students protest over high cost of college

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

21.43 23 Nov 2021


Share this article


Around 300 students turned out for a protest in Dublin this afternoon, demonstrating over what they say is the "extortionate" cost of third-level education in Ireland.

Today's demonstration - organised by the Union of Students in Ireland - was the second of three student protests taking place this week.

The first protest was held in Cork City yesterday, while the third student protest will take place at the Spanish Arch in Galway City tomorrow.

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USI President Clare Austick told The Hard Shoulder's Barry Whyte too many young people are simply priced out of education in Ireland, due to student fees and lack of increases to the SUSI grant.

'Most days I can't afford food' - Students protest over high cost of college

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She said: "Students are just fed up and they've had enough.

"It'd be around €10,000 to attend college for one year.

"It's €3,000 for the student contribution charge - the fees. Rent would be around €6,000, and then the cost of living, meals, stationery, materials and hidden course fees."

She said some students are couch-surfing or living in B&Bs or hostels, while others are commuting up to four hours to college as they can't afford accommodation.

She said rents are "extortionate" and student fees are the highest in the EU, while the SUSI grant hasn't seen meaningful increases for a decade.

One student from Maynooth University, David, emotionally told Barry about his struggles to get by.

Today, David had just 21 cents in his bank account.

He said: "I work, but all my money mostly goes to rent. I maybe have €10-20 for food.

"My parents don't have the money to give me. It's not acceptable what the Government is doing - they're not trying to help at all.

"It's mostly noodles [I eat] - some days I barely have a biscuit for the whole day. Most days I can't afford food."

He said he even thinks about dropping out most days due to the struggles he faces.

Main image: Students at the protest in Dublin today. Photographer: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie

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