Queen’s Students’ Union led a rally on Tuesday outside the Union in protest to the proposed cuts to funding announced on 3 November 2014, by the Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton. The 10.8% cut to the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) budget. This represents one of the largest ever cuts imposed on the Department and, if implemented, will have serious consequences.
At the rally,Ciaran Gallagher, President of Queen’s Students’ Union, called for all students to come together in protest of the cuts. He stated, “Education is one of the best assets Northern Ireland can claim to have and we cannot afford to disinvest in it”.
Ellie Drake, Women’s Officer for NUS-USI said “we have a duty to fight these proposed education cuts, not only for ourselves but for the students that will come after us.”
Glenn Fitzpatrick, USI Campaigns Officer also spoke at the rally and stressed the importance of valuing education, rallying the crowd to inform peers and build support in the fight against the DEL cuts.
Gerry Carroll, a Belfast City Councillor expressed his concern regarding the cuts, outlining education as crucial for the younger generation and the UCU President, Alan Harper expressed the need for solidarity to fight against the DEL cuts.
The rally concluded with Ciaran Gallagher asking people to sign the online petition and write a letter to their local MLA. He stated the more letters they receive the more chance they will listen to the student voice.