USI’s €5,000 figure for fees “hypothetical”

USI have been using a made-up number to strengthen Nov.16 campaign, writes Dave Ryan

In an article published earlier this evening by the College Tribune by Donie O’ Sullivan, it has been revealed that the author of an Independent article which has been an important part of the USI’s ‘Stop the Fees’ campaign was indeed hypothetical.

Speaking to the Tribune, Kim Bielenberg has said that €5,000 was nothing more than hypothetical, and as the article suggests, the person quoted in the article is not a government official. All this despite the fact that in an earlier interview with the College Tribune, USI were using this Indo article as the only evidence for the €5,000 claim.

Initial responses in the minutes following the article’s release have been varied. Student, and Observer reader Peter Keane has suggested that the use of a hypothetical figure is “out-and-out scaremongering”. He went on to say that “The USI never should have associated the €5,000 figure in association with its campaign without absolute certainty. Now it just seems like they were trying to scare people into attending their march”

Another source, who wished to remain anonymous, was less than surprised. “It’s political manoeuvring at its absolute best if you ask me. You guys have said it before: You use a figure that’s ridiculously high to drum up support, a figure the government would never actually impose. Then when they actually impose a smaller number, you call it a victory anyway, ignoring the fact the fees still went up”

This particular suggestion, which has been echoed by a reader of the College Tribune, and mentioned in the article, suggests an appalling attempt to dupe the students the USI represents, but it must also be pointed out, that there is no concrete evidence to suggest that this is the case at the moment. It could be the case that the USI simply made the mistake of misinterpreting the Independent article. More on this story as it develops.

Dave Ryan

Donie O’Sullivan’s article for the College Tribune is here

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