He Huffed and he Puffed …

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

…and Shane McNally blows the house down.

The College Tribune reported earlier this week on Gary Redmond’s  latest escapades. Unfortunately escapades imply that he was perhaps venturing into unknown waters. Sadly this is not the case, as the title, ‘USI fires warning shot at government’ may suggest. This ‘warning shot’ leaves much to the imagination.

Redmond tells the College Tribune that there is a plan in place, the first step of which will be to launch, ‘an escalating campaign that has seven different steps, each one gaining in seriousness and how much it affects the TDs, it will start with lobbying and work up all the way through various stages. The final stages haven’t fully been decided yet.”

The plan, apparently having seven steps consists of the following; lobbying. The next is, well, I can’t say it any better than Redmond did. When asked about the possibility of a large scale protest similar to that of November 3rd 2010, Redmond replied that the USI are ‘ruling nothing in or out’. Perhaps we are going to scare the government with ambiguity.

These ‘plans’ have about as much depth to them as the giant piece of cardboard that Ruadhrí Quinn signed right before the election. Platitude will get you nowhere Mr. Redmond. We have seen firsthand the impact that lobbying has had. In the few times that government ministers actually agree to something, it is predominantly a marginally lower figure on what is called a ‘student service charge’ than the one originally cited. This the USI sees as a win. My colleagues here at the Observer have addressed this notion of a USI win and the folly it entails. Needless to say lobbying a Minister who has reneged ona promise that what was essentially an enormous publicity stunt is shameful for all parties concerned, but to continue to stand over the policies that achieved these highs of student activism, is beyond farce.

The months following November 3rd have seen things for the State go from bad to worse, as the global economic crisis deepens and the straight jacket imposed on Ireland by the bailout has tightened. The results of austerity measures are only too clear to every household in the country. To make matters worse for the student the registration fee (a complete misnomer) has gone up to €2000 per annum. The blustering of the President of the USI, with maybe’s and nothing has yet been ruled out certainly serves to illustrate how serious the USI is taking the costs being forced upon students and their families. A statement of assertive action this is not.

Putting myself in the hypothetical situation of someone charged to represent every student in Ireland, I would be extremely disappointed in being lied to by a now minister for education. Secondly I would consider my options. Lobbying doesn’t work. A mass student protest served to secure promises only good until Dáil seats were secured.

What next? Perhaps more direct action? Maybe consider taking up a campaign against both Gay Mitchell and Michael D Higgins’ attempts to reach the Áras and perhaps show that the students of Ireland will not see their futures snuffed out by short sighted policies and the outdated politics.

Putting myself in the hypothetical position of a government minister, I wondered what my reaction to this threat would be from the USI. I concluded that I should ask this Gary Redmond to run for my party.

Shane McNally

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One thought on “He Huffed and he Puffed …

  1. Pingback: Observer Week in Review 26-30 Sptember | The Student Observer

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