Paul Murphy, a former student at University College Dublin who was a founding member of both FEE and the earlier CFE (Coalition for Free Education) campaigns has replaced Joe Higgins as the Socialist Party/United Left Alliance MEP for Dublin.
Murphy has been an activist with the Socialist Party for over 10 years, and active in a variety of campaigns from migrant rights issues (the GAMA dispute) to campaigns for free education.
FEE was originally founded in University College Dublin, with its first demonstration being in opposition to a visit to the campus by Fianna Fáil T.D Martin Mansergh. Murphy was among the FEE activists who occupied the office of Paul Gogarty, the Green Party Spokesperson for Education during the years of the Fianna Fáil/Green coalition.
Commenting on his selection as MEP, Murphy said:
“I’ll be working closely with the two Socialist Party TDs and the other three United Left Alliance TDs to try to give real political representation for working people and organise mass campaigns against the coming onslaught of attacks by the Fine Gael / Labour government. Of course, in line with all Socialist Party public representatives, I will only be taking an average workers’ wage with genuine expenses, with the rest of my salary being donated to various workers’ groups and campaigns as well as the struggle for socialist change.”
At the moment, FEE is organised in a number of secondary and third level institutions on both sides of the border, including here at NUI Maynooth, and are currently focusing on supporting strike action from education workers in the north of Ireland.