BREAKING NEWS

03/09/2013

Students vow to Fight for their Future

Students vow to Fight for their Future as high-tech voter database announced

POLITICIANS were warned today (THURSDAY) that any attempt to target students in the upcoming Budget will cost them their seats.

Students revealed that they are launching SERD (Student Elector Registration Database), a national student voter database which will ultimately allow them to marshall and influence hundreds of thousands of votes in constituencies all over the country.

At the launch of the Union of Students in Ireland’s ‘Fight For Your Future Now’ national campaign today, USI President Joe O’Connor said the new student voter database which USI is developing will instantly match student votes to constituencies and local TDs.

USI is also today launching its Pre-Budget Submission, which calls on the protection of the student maintenance grant and the Back to Education Allowance, a fairer and more affordable postgraduate loan scheme and investment in the European Youth Guarantee.

Speaking at the launch, Joe O’Connor said: “Decisions made by Government in the upcoming Budget could have potentially dire consequences for students and their families. 76,600 students depend on maintenance grants to support them through college. These students and their parents form a voting block of approximately 214,480 voters across every constituency, enough to have a decisive say in the outcome of any election”.

“With the recent ‘Cost of College’ survey showing that 84% of parents are already struggling to meet the rising costs of third-level, the Government must be aware that any further cuts to student supports or increased student charges will meet with firm resistance”.

The campaign will see 50,000 new voters registered this year. These students, along with the 120,000+ students already registered, will be connected directly with their local politicians. Students at today’s launch sent the direct message of ‘I Am A Vote’ to politicians across the country.

In the coming year USI will mobilise its 200,000 student voters, and their families, for two referendums. USI favours the retention and reform of Seanad Éireann, and has been a leading advocate for LGBT rights and marriage equality since the 70’s.

USI believes its database will have hit its target well in advance of next year’s local and European elections, and it will be continually developed and enhanced in the run up to the next general election.

“Minister Quinn’s statements today that he will do ‘what he can’ to protect the maintenance grant provides little comfort to students and families already concerned about the affordability of college- When choices are being made around the Cabinet table in respect of the Budget the choice needs to be made to protect a Higher Education system at breaking point”.

“There may have been an impression in the past that students made a lot of noise but didn’t back it up at the ballot box.  That ends now.  With our organisation and new technology we have the capacity to radically influence the outcome of every single election in Ireland,” said Joe O’Connor.

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