A motion calling on Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) to oppose the introduction of student fees passed tonight at TCDSU Council.
The motion, brought by students involved in the “Students Against Fees” group, called for the union to “oppose any increase in fees or student contribution fees for any section of the student body, and the student body as a whole”.
No-one spoke against the motion, and it passed with overwhelming support.
Yesterday, The University Times revealed that the government higher education funding working group, chaired by Peter Cassells, is to recommend a package that would include an income-contingent loan scheme in conjunction with a €1000 increase in the student contribution charge.
Additionally, the group will also recommend that SUSI cease to pay the charge for students – forcing all students to pay up front or take out a loan for the €4000 fee – but would pay increased living costs, known as maintenance, to eligible students.
This new motion follows the failure of a motion opposing the introduction of a government-supported loan scheme at the last council meeting in November.
Oisín Coulter, fourth-year classics class representative, who proposed the motion, referenced these details, calling on students to use the voice of the union to oppose the introduction of any form of student fees. Summing up, he spoke about Ireland as “one of Europe’s fastest growing economies” and asked if this was the best the government could offer students.
A number of students spoke in favour of the motion. Carly Bailey, who represents a number of minority groups in college, being a TAP student, a mature student, a student with a disability and a student parent, spoke about the difficulties associated with the fear of debt.
Rory O’Neill, another student, claimed that “Trinity already has one of the worst records in Ireland in terms of access to education”, and voiced his opposition to an increase in student fees.
Kieran McNulty, TCDSU Citizenship Officer, also spoke in support of the motion, raising concerns with how college fees would detrimentally affect students.
Edmund Heaphy and Daniel O’Brien also contributed reporting to this piece.