In their policy document issued at the launch of the party and found on their website, Renua Ireland make no reference to students and make very little reference to education on a whole. Throughout their 45 page document the only mention of their plans for education is a small statement, “The fundamental reform of our Education system is a priority. Citizens rather than trade unions must decide the future of our country.”
The College Tribune contacted Renua Ireland to speak to them about their engagement with students and how they see students becoming involved in their party.
Renua Ireland party member and UCD student Samuel S. O’Connor spoke to the College Tribune.
Speaking about the party’s position on third level fees O’Connor confirmed that a policy had not yet been established. “The party is currently in the process of forming a complete policy platform. The issue of third-level fees has not yet been fully developed, but will be addressed prior to the next election.” he stated.
O’Connor stated that students have already played a big part in getting the party where it is today with a number of the founding members of the party being either students themselves or recent graduates.
O’Connor also states that there are many ways in which students already not involved with the party can become involved. “There are a huge number of ways in which students and young people can get involved, from helping with policy formation to grass-roots activism, or even by standing as a candidate.”
O’Connor also states how Renua Ireland sees their engagement with students as well as other core groups in society as integral to their main objective. “As part of our objective to provide a positive political alternative to the people of Ireland, we are focussed on including and working with those whose voices are not currently being heard by the political establishment.”
“Students have a long and proud history of political engagement, and we welcome anyone who wishes to help implement our founding principles to get involved.” O’Connor also added.
Although Renua Ireland sees students as an integral part of their party and are keen to grow their student supporters, no plans have been put in place to begin developing Renua Ireland societies within universities across Ireland.
“As the party is still in its infancy, our immediate focus is on establishing the party’s regional structures. Once our regional boards are in place, we will begin to develop the individual constituency teams. At that stage we will be free to devote more energy into direct student engagement on campuses across the country.”