• All-Ireland Campaign for Free Education
    Higher education in Ireland has been turned into a money racket by years of neoliberal government policy and negligence in Higher Education Institutions. While fees for students in the north and south of Ireland have increased dramatically over the past 15 years, the quality of education has been diminished. Most teaching staff are under-paid and overworked, and are given precarious employment contracts that offer little in the way of workers' rights and job security. Students are forced to work part-time or full-time during college to pay fees and rent, which has huge impacts on their academic performance and their health. Funding for essential services like student health and counselling have been cut, with further cuts planned in anticipation of the economic downturn. The fees paid by students are not being invested in education or support for students; they are instead being used to give salary increases and bonuses to the upper management of our colleges and universities. These issues existed before the pandemic, but the outbreak of COVID-19 has highlighted and exacerbated many of the issues we face in higher education. Students are shouldering a large portion of the burden of COVID-19. We have lost jobs, lost family members, worked on the front lines and are still being financially exploited by the higher education system. Student nurses and midwives in particular have played a vital role in the fight against COVID-19, but the state refuses to pay them for their work. On top of that, these essential workers are still forced to pay thousands in college tuition fees. It's clear that neither the government nor the upper management in our colleges care about education - they only care about our money. It's time for students to fight back against exploitation and neoliberalism in higher education in Ireland, and demand that student fees be abolished entirely. Higher education should be publicly funded, and those working in education should be properly paid for their work. The Campaigns demands are: - A public higher education system funded from general taxation - Abolish the student contribution, registration fees, and other fees paid directly by students. - Pay student nurses, midwives, and other students such as social workers for their work on placement. - Pay postgraduate teachers a living wage - Reverse the outsourcing of university staff, offer permanent contracts - Hire more admin and teaching staff to alleviate the workload in universities and ITs - Reverse cuts to student services - Increase the income threshold for the SUSI grant, and increase the grant allowance for SUSI - Cap rents for student accommodation and introduce a differential rent based on income
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    Created by Mark Anderson
  • Grant non-susi students the option to receive €250 as a single payment
    Gives each student equal opportunity and the liberty to make their own decision as opposed to receiving the institution credit note or opting for a reduction of fees
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    Created by Annie Morenigbade
  • Support for Mental Health in Irish Schools
    Accessible therapeutic counselling for children is a proven cost-effective early intervention with the ability to alleviate distress for young people as well as pressure on already overwhelmed mental health services and on overstretched school staff. An on-call counselling support service with onward referral could provide students with an in-school option for seeking help, support and an extra entry point to accessing mental health services, often in a time of crisis. From the IACP. "On 18th May, 2019 the IACP outlined a proposal for the expansion of existing mental health supports to secondary schools, via the introduction of a State funded, counselling support service for children. Although these types of supports are available in many other countries, and are proven to be a cost effective, easily accessible early intervention, there is no such established support system in Ireland. Consider the current pandemic, the IACP is now proposing that these counselling supports be extended to primary school children. Prior to the current crisis a national survey – commissioned by the IACP and carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes (March 2019) found that there is very strong support amongst Irish adults for therapeutic counselling to be made available in all Irish schools – with 9 in 10 saying that they’d like to see this."
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  • Free period products in NI schools #MenstruationMatters
    Unlike England, Scotland and Wales, NI still does not have a budget or scheme in place for free period products in all school toilets. Yet again, we have been left behind. Schools already provide free toilet roll, hand soap, hand towels and sanitary waste disposal bins in toilets. What makes period products any different? We firmly believe that any toilet that requires toilet roll, requires period products in exactly the same way. In June 2020, a Plan international UK study showed how 3 in 10 UK girls have struggled to afford or access sanitary wear during lockdown, with over half (54%) of these girls having used toilet paper as an alternative. There is no doubt that period poverty has been exacerbated as a result of the current pandemic and the need to maintain good hygiene has never been more important. Due to extensive job losses, an increase in people using food banks, and many other local support services being cut, families have been hard hit and are under more financial pressure than ever. At the Homeless Period Belfast, we have seen an exponential increase in demand and requests for our own period packs. In April – June 2020 we received 3 times the demand than previous years. Now, more than ever, a free period products scheme in schools across NI will relieve the financial pressure on parents and students purchasing these items. It will also alleviate the pressure of school students having to remember to carry period products in their bags when there are many other things to worry about and remember to bring (exams, books, homework, hand sanitiser/masks, bus passes etc.), meaning students can go about their daily lives without getting caught out. Free period products in schools will ensure that every young person can learn and be their very best, without the worry of their next pad or tampon holding them back.
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    Created by The Homeless Period
  • International Students Require Assistance in Ireland’s COVID-19 Response
    International students have not been adequately considered in Ireland’s COVID-19 response: - Due to closed immigration offices, some have remained stuck in Ireland for months, with unanswered emails and calls to INIS and university immigration offices (1). - In Dublin, an online renewal system that requires applicants to mail in their passports has resulted in passports lost in the mail or held up to 3 months (2). - Despite permission extensions, a valid up-to-date residence card is required to allow most non-EU international students to exit and reenter the country (1). These delays have meant that they haven’t been able to return home to care for sick family members or say goodbye to dying loved ones for fear of not being allowed to return. Heartbreaking stories of isolation, frustration, and loss currently fill the international student community. In addition, the recent ruling by the Court of Appeals (3), classifying international students who reside in Ireland for more than one year as “Ordinary Residents,” has put considerable financial burden on international students. Despite bringing in some 400 million euros to the Irish economy (4), international students are already required to pay 300 euros per year out of pocket for residency cards that must be renewed yearly. This ruling now additionally requires international students to purchase health insurance for immigration purposes costing 600+ euros per year (3, 5-7). It is illogical and excessive to classify students as Ordinary Residents and expect a yearly renewal fee - especially when students (Stamp 2) can't avail of social service benefits. Allowing international students, already dealing with family separation and heavy financial burden (1, 2, 8), to carry these burdens alone during a pandemic is unreasonable and inhumane. Irish Universities and Colleges – and the Irish Government - have a responsibility to support the students they recruit (9). We, the international students of Ireland, in conjunction with our allies, call on Helen McEntee (Department of Justice), Norma Foley (Department of Education), Simmon Harris (Department of Further Education, Research, Innovation, and Science), and Stephen Donnelly (Department of Health) to: 1.) Resolve the immigration appointment and application backlogs This could be accomplished through the implementation of a fast, secure, country-wide, fully-online renewal process. To avoid passports being lost or held for excessive periods of time, this could be accomplished via a “sticker system,” whereby applicants submit their details online and are issued a “sticker” in the mail that makes their permit valid until the COVID crisis is over. In addition to the online “sticker system,” issuing residence permits for non-EU students that last for the duration of a student’s study, as done in the United States and the Netherlands (for example), would help improve the situation; additionally, removing the yearly renewal process would help with the immigration appointment backlogs. As non-EU students are already under an obligation to report and change in details, and can only work 20 hours per week and thus would be unable to support themselves financially in Ireland’s high cost of living, there is little risk of these students using their residency cards to stay in Ireland under false pretenses. In addition, these issues have been addressed through simple mechanisms already done in other EU countries. 2.) Re-classify international students to avoid unreasonable healthcare costs Under no circumstances should students be forced to pay healthcare costs of 600+ euros following the Court of Appeal ruling (3). We therefore request that international students be declassified as Ordinary Residents. 3.) Consider international students when making policy decisions Take care to consider issues concerning international students when making future decisions regarding residency, visas, GNIB, health, housing, and the overall COVID response, to prevent further issues from arising. Sources: 1. Kenny, Aíne. “We are “cash cows” for the Irish university system, say international students.” Irish Examiner, 27 Oct 2020. 2. Surve, Aakanksha. “Ireland COVID-19 lockdown: An overwhelmed immigration system leaves hundreds in limbo,” DublinLive, 25 Oct 2020. 3. Tottenham BL, Mark. “Students in the State for over one year were “ordinary resident” for the purposes of medical insurance.” Decisis Law Report, 31 Oct 2020. 4. O’Brien, Carl. “Universities eye more Irish students to replace overseas losses” Irish Times, May 3 2020. 5. Curran, Ian. “I’m not sure my friends can afford it”: International students face hike in insurance costs.” theJournal.ie, 10 Oct 2020. 6 .Brady, Niall. “Why a Court of Appeal could cost Irish universities.” The Times, 12 April 2020. 7. Brady, Niall. “Higher education minister Simon Harris urged to prevent health cover hike for foreign students,” The Times, Sept 27 2020. 8. O'Connell, Pet. “Overseas students “isolated and homesick” under lockdown, say Cork campaigner.” Irish Examiner, Oct 22, 2020. 9. “Provision of Education to International Students: Code of Practice and Guidelines for Irish Higher Education Institutions.” Irish Higher Education Quality Network, 2018.
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    Created by International Students for Change
  • #BringChange
    There is a great deal of concern from parents, teachers, principals and elected members of the Northern Ireland Assembly about the current private system of transfer tests and particularly during this pandemic year.
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    Created by Naomi McBurney
  • Basic allowance for student healthcare workers during corona virus!
    This is important to eradicate the exploitation of student healthcare workers working 39 hour weeks and paying tuition, travel costs and more. These students sacrifice their personal safety and finances to take care of sick and injured people in our hospitals on the daily which is of major public benefit at their expense. Implementing an allowance will also reduce the need for students to work a part time job on top of college and placement hours which will majorly reduce the risk of cross contamination in hospital wards.
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    Created by Callum Lowe
  • One Stamp for All Spouse and Dependents Immigrants #Equal Rights Ireland
    Immigrants spouses are being treated and marked as herds by giving them stamp 3/1g, making it impossible for them to access the job market. What are the spouses being punished for?? It is causing mental and health deterioration for the skilled immigrants who are suffering financially by being dependent on spouses. Isolation during covid-19 is building up some serious mental concerns as depression and suicidal thoughts. Furthermore adding to the misery of immigrants, stamp 1g is given to the graduates on job search and spouses of CSEP holders and hosting agreement holders. Recruiters are not willing to entertain anyone on Stamp 1g or stamp 3. Now with many of them listing an eligibility criteria as EU/Stamp 4 holder only may apply. Immigrants' spouses who have stamp 1g or stamp 3 are as if they are handcuffed for a crime which is simply being a dependent to a permit holder or critical skill worker. Dependent immigrants want to work and equally contribute to the society and pay taxes.
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    Created by Aysha Mazhar
  • Reclose the Schools
    Students account for 20% of Ireland's population. Sending students to school in the current climate, while also considering that online learning was practiced successfully last year, is an unnecessary risk to public safety. Issues facing schools include confusion over the definition of a close contact, no guarantee of when a test result will be returned to a student, and no option for high-risk teachers to teach from home. An inadequate following of restrictions, including a lack of social distancing before and after school as well as at break times, masks not being used at break times and hand sanitizers being recalled because they were not safe are just some of the health concerns affecting schools. Finally, students are struggling massively with their mental health right now. The fear of contracting and possibly spreading Covid-19 to loved ones and high risk friends is leaving many students stressed and afraid to go to school.
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    Created by Close Schools
  • Stop the Stigma of Mental Health in Third Level and Further Education
    It is important for this to happen, because there are students in both Third Level and Future Education Colleges who are being looked down upon and made feel ashamed and embarrassed because of their mental health and the majority of us Students are being kicked out of their college for having a Mental Health Illness. You can't just stick a plaster over a Mental Health Illness, it's not the same as a broken arm or leg; were it it will heal in approximately 6 weeks. I think both students and teachers should be taught about Mental Health so they can understand it more and know exactly how to help someone with Mental Health; mental health isn't just an illness; it affects everyone differently and the majority of mental health goes unnoticed due to it been invisible. 1 in 5 people have Mental Illness, 5 in 5 people have Mental Health We want you Simon Harris to join us Students in stopping this Stigma of Mental Health in college, especially now in these difficult times.
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    Created by Danielle Cuddihy Picture
  • Open our Libraries Now for Click & Collect Service
    Libraries can safely operate a click and collect service while maintaining adhering to the current guidelines. Under Level 5 , retailers which can provide a click and collect service to customers are allowed to continue to operate, this shows lack of consistency in Government policy. Public libraries provide an essential service to local communities. While we acknowledge that online services such as audio and ebook rentals are offered under Level 5, these services should not be considered equivalent to library book rental.
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    Created by Claire Grace
  • High Quality Public Broadband for All!
    This pandemic has shown that the internet can be used to connect and strengthen communities - but only if they have high quality, affordable access. If we build a public network, we can guarantee free, quality internet for everyone.
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    Created by Emily Duffy Picture