Members of Free Education for Everyone (FEE) and the Socialist Workers Student Society held a protest against Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the official opening of the new Student Centre on Thursday during which an egg was thrown at Mr Kenny.
The students organised the protest to show their opposition to his invitation given speculation that university fees will be increased by €250 in the upcoming budget.
In an interview with the College Tribune, unhealthy Freddie Hoskin, medicine a member of the Socialist Workers Student Society, try said that the fact that Mr Kenny had been invited to UCD in his official capacity was abhorrent. He went on to criticise the Students’ Union for their failure to protest at the event.
“Personally I’m disgusted…we protested Brian Hayes and [Jan O’Sullivan] coming in to talk to Young Fine Gael and Labour Youth so the fact that the Students’ Union didn’t organize something is hypocritical,” said Hoskin.
“[We] decided that it would be ridiculous to have the Taoiseach on campus and have no protest present while the Students’ Union president speaks along side him. We thought that any kind of protest we can do, we need to make it as loud as possible with the resources we have.”
When asked if he condoned the egg throwing Hoskin replied, “Completely. I completely condone the action.”
Some in UCD, including the Students’ Union, have denounced the incident. In a statement on their Facebook page the Union said: “UCD Students’ Union strongly condemns this unjustified and unrepresentative action.”
Hoskin described the Unions response as laughable. “[It] shows their true colours, that they really don’t care.”
“I think they’re living in the past. They think we can still have reasonable negotiations with the government… It’s completely apparent they’re not listening to us… It’s no longer just asking the government very nicely for what we want. It’s demanding it from them. It’s making a mass radical movement in order to prevent the government from doing anything besides what we want. It’s mobilization as opposed to negotiation,” said Hoskin.
Commenting on his surprise at the response of UCD students to the action taken against the Taoiseach, Hoskin said that he was shocked.
“Someone came up to me afterwards and told me it was the most disgusting thing they had ever witnessed. I can’t wrap my head around it. They have this rhetoric about fighting the government and fighting fees and everything and then demand we respect them [the government]. The very concept of respect is that respect is earned, that’s how it works. You don’t just gain respect because you have more money or power than someone. Respect is earned by doing actions that deserve respect.”
He continued, “I don’t think that left-wing students should be discouraged by the reaction of a small number of very loud students who are condemning us. If you look into it we have quite a lot of public support for this and we can use it to build a good, broader left movement that can actually do something real to fight fees.”
By James Grannell