Full Name: Alice Mary Higgins
Comments: I am delighted to sign the 2019 USI Student Manifesto and I commit to bringing advocacy on access to education, ending direct provision and action on the climate crisis to the heart of my work if elected to the European Parliament.
Students have been at the forefront of social change here in Ireland and across Europe on key issues of social justice, equality and the environment and I pledge to be a voice for the needs and the demands of the student movement in Europe.
There will be many opportunities to share the important experiences and record of the Irish student movement on agitating for positive, inclusive and transformational social change with our European partners over the next five years but also to learn from the best of the European student experience.
European countries such as the Nordic states and Germany have incredible traditions of publicly funded higher education with no university fees for students and strong wraparound financial supports in terms of grant support and housing. They also provide a model of public funding for public research. They have demonstrated that higher education sectors with the interests of students at their heart can compete internationally and be financially sustainable in the long-term.
As Ireland considers the future funding of higher education domestically, it is these experiences from which we must draw inspiration and I commit to ensuring the best of European higher education expertise and experience informs the domestic debate on an ongoing basis.
Full Name: Ciarán CUFFE
Party: Green Party
Additional Comments: We also support dedicated affordable, student housing close to the third level institutions where those projects are developed in tandem with the provision of suitable housing for local communities.
Full Name: Eilis Ryan
Party: Workers’ Party
Additional Comments: I have been a leading advocate against exploitative for-profit student housing including https://www.thejournal.ie/
Full Name: Mark Durkan
Party: Fine Gael
Additional Comments: Thank you for sharing the student manifesto with its three key public policy areas.
Several of the points in the three areas relate particularly to the EU budget and policy space. I fully support these but am wary of tick-box pledges. My approach to the Multi-Annual Financial Framework is that it should be back-lit by both the 17 SDGs and the 20 social pillar principals. On that basis, I support your EU funding priorities on access to education.
My record shows that I opposed the introduction of student loans and their significant in the UK. When Finance Minister in the North, I was able to budget to reintroduce student bursuaries and reduce or remove fees for many students.
In the House of Commons I had a strong record on refugees and asylum seekers and other humanitarian responsibilities. I would like to take that stance into the European Parliament as I have serious misgivings about aspects of the EU’s approach to supposedly ‘upstream’ interventions to avert flows of migrants from a number of locations.
Similarly I would like to assure you that I would work for stronger climate action targets in the EU, accompanied by strategic investment to support a just transition for workers, communities and consumers.
Full Name: Rita Harrold
Additional Comments: I have happily participated in USI anti-fees protests for many years, it was the first issues I got politically active on. I have since been to USI events and worked with USI on housing and Women’s rights. I will work closely with student activists if elected.