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Left Archive: What Did You Do During the Education Cuts? Poster, c.mid 1980s, Union of Students in Ireland August 22, 2022

Posted by leftarchivist in Uncategorized.

To download the above please click on the following link.

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

This poster issued by the Union of Students in Ireland in the mid-1980s is typical of the out from the union during that period. The text notes:

Since 1980 fees have risen by 380% – Working class participation in third level has correspondingly fallen. Less than 50% of students receive grans and its real value has fallen every year since 1980. Third level education is now more elitist than ever as a consequence of cutbacks, high fee increases and no commitment to increase the number of places. USI is working for an education system open and accessible to all the people of Ireland.

Note the ‘Fighting For A Future’ slogan at the foot of the poster.


1. alanmyler - August 22, 2022

I don’t recall seeing that poster but definitely we seemed to have been regularly enough out on the streets marching for one thing or another during my college years (81-85). As I recall, my first year fees were £120 in DIT, compared to £1000 at the time in UCD. By the time I’d finished I think the fees were either £500 or £1000, I don’t remember exactly, I just remember being sent into the Bank Of Ireland branch on Wexford St by my parents to get a loan to cover it as they couldn’t stretch to that amount. I think Tomboktu might have started in my final year, maybe he can recall the exact amount?

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Tomboktu - August 22, 2022

I don’t remember what the fees were.

I do remember Joe Duffy (now of Liveline on RTÉ radio) was president of USI in my first year and led a campaign over funding for higher education and the removal of medical cards from students. He and others went to jail for contempt of court in one of those campaigns. (And he then any on to work for the probation service.)

There’s a photo somewhere on the web of me anf some students from other colleges lobbying Monica Barnes in Leinster House. Duffy was regarded as innovative for organising s mass lobbying event: he set up a series of meetings with TDs and small groups of students meet then to make the case. (I was there to make up the numbers and add a college to the group meeting Barnes.)

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WorldbyStorm - August 22, 2022

Yeah there was definitely a lot of activity then – continual protests, occupations etc. a crowd from our place made it to the top of TCDs admin building – and then occupations in our own place. Funny in a similar role there was a delegation from our place to meet Mary O’Rourke who was then Minister. Not sure what she made of us. I was always v sceptical about student protests and politics – probably due the WP focus on constituencies (and their loss of the student princes!). But was v involved in the SU itself cause it was a union and we did good work on abortion information the year before Bacik et al were attacked by pro life legally. Do you remember Duffy on the back if a flatbed truck outside the GPO on one protest?


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