South – The government is planning to impose fees while we


  • Vote YES to commit the union to a mass campaigning approach to defeat fees.
  • Vote YES to organise a one day shutdown of the college as a warning to the government in advance of their decision on fees.

 The government is committed to the re-introduction of full fees in April. College fees, whether as direct fees, student loans or a graduate tax, will hit students hard. We will simply not be able to deal with extra costs of €5000 a year or up to €20,000+ in total! This will deny access to tens of thousands of young people and saddle the rest with crippling debt.


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Despite many protests and two significant demonstrations, the government is still pressing ahead with their plans. They see students as an “easy target”, partly because of years of a weak approach to campaigning by Students’ Unions. We need to really step up the campaign to the defeat them.

A one-day shut down of third level education would be a powerful warning to the government in advance of any decision on fees. Like their retreat on pensioners’ medical cards, it could force them back.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has in principle agreed to a nationwide one day shutdown of education in conjunction with staff. The passing of this referendum in UCD would push the idea of a shutdown forward and could result in a national shutdown which would have a huge impact.


What does a shutdown mean?

A shutdown means effectively a one day student strike, combined with protests, activities, film showings, talks etc. on the day. This means thousands of students taking action on our campus to fight fees – a powerful warning to the government. This tactic has proved crucial in combating government attacks on education in Italy and Germany in the past year, it has also been an important tactic of the student movement in Ireland in the past.


What good will a shutdown do?

Some will say that a shut down of the college has no point and just deprives students of an education for a day. They are wrong. A shutdown in UCD and a shutdown across the country would have a huge impact. It would demonstrate the power of the student movement and our intention to fight fees all the way.

It would give the government serious food for thought before deciding to re-introduce fees. Even if they still proceed to try to implement fees, a national shutdown would lay the basis for a much bigger national campaign of mass mobilisations to defeat them.


Who organised this referendum?

The Free Education for Everyone (FEE) campaign collected over 1,000 signatures to call this referendum. FEE has been to the forefront in the activities against fees over the last months, organising demonstrations, protests, occupations and blockades. We played a key role in building the attendance for the Feb 4 national demonstration, distributing tens of thousands of leaflets across the country. Now we think the movement has to be stepped up if we are to defeat fees.

Contact us at to get involved in this referendum campaign and to help build a movement that can defeat fees.


What happens if the referendum is passed?

If the referendum is passed, the Students’ Union will be committed to an approach of mass campaigning and mobilisation of student power to defeat fees. It will also be committed to organising a one day (24 hour) shutdown of UCD. The SU will strive to get the active support of the staff and their unions for this action. It will also work within USI to make our shutdown part of a national one day shutdown.


What about my tutorials/labs etc.?

The referendum commits the union to work with the staff and their unions to organise this shutdown in conjunction with the staff. A meeting of SIPTU members in UCD about the “pension levy” agreed to call for a one day strike – we should work to combine these actions. If we succeed in having united action, then there won’t even be any classes to miss!

In any case, if the referendum is passed a majority of students will have indicated their willingness to strike and classes won’t go ahead in any meaningful way.

This proposed shutdown is for one day – it can play a crucial role in defending third level education for years!


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