WHAT THE NEW GOVERNMENT MEANS FOR STUDENTS

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Students have their own opinions on what a proposed Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition would mean for them.

Student activist, Sean Cassidy said: “If Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael enter government together, students are at strong risk of a reintroduction of tuition fees.”

Although both parties addressed the issue in their manifesto, their plans do differ. Fianna Fáil say they will freeze third level fees, while Fine Gael proposed the idea of a new loan scheme for fees that students can pay back once their income reaches a certain threshold.

Student Social Democrat, Jack Butterly said “A FG/FF coalition looks like the only option in terms of Government. However for young people, the outcome offers no real vision or even attempt to address the issues facing us the most today.”

Butterly continued, “I fear that the possibility of an FF/FG government will have little interest in tackling student issues. The findings of the working group on loan packages in place of SUSI grants for students will most likely not be fought by the two major parties, leading to further increases in fees and relegating those who cannot afford university further into debt.”

Active member of Young Fine Gael James Nolan said: “I don’t think a FF/FG coalition is likely, it won’t go down well with members in both parties, and even if they do form a government, I don’t think it’d last more than two years.”

These opinions represent several student opinons that the main coalition would not represent students best interests.

Interestingly with recent successful campaigns involving students, such as the marriage referendum there has been an increase in student participation in politics.

The Union of Students in Ireland reported that they have registered over 80,000 students to vote in the last two years.

One recent successful campaign they ran was increasing the minimum wage for student nurses, which has increased from the 1st of March.

USI VP for Campaigns, Daniel Waugh said on increasing the student nurse’s wage: “Although it is a great win… there’s still a lot more work to be done, and USI will continue on doing work on issues like bullying culture, and financial support for students.”

Another issue that has seen interest from students, is the repeal the 8th Amendment which is about abortion rights. Two weeks ago DCUSU held a preferendum on what the colleges stance on the matter, and the student body voted 70 per cent in favour of a pro choice campus.

Although the next government is not guaranteed to be a FF/FG coalition, the possibility of it is increasing everyday. And even though the make up of such a partnership is unclear and needs ironing out, the prospect still seems apt to most.

However, in an online poll involving over 60 DCU students, when asked would they change their vote if another general election was called. Over two thirds of them said they would not change their vote.

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By Jordan Kavanagh

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