Student March a Turning Point

(Originally Published on and in November 2010)

After closely following the events of today’s student march in Dublin from the relative comfort of my small abode in Cork, for reasons which I will get into a later date, I believe that students in Ireland, and Irish society at large, have reached a turning point in its relationship with the Government and its various arms. For students, today was all about voicing their protestations at the Government due to upcoming budget which is undoubtedly going to put even more financial pressure on the majority of third level students. What most of us did not expect is that it would turn violent and riot police would be deployed. This is the turning point to which I am referring. In reality, what took place today was a microcosm of Irish society contained within small group of students/activists who decided that they needed to make a statement of some kind in the hope that someone, somewhere in the Dáil will pay attention. Whether or not their motives were pure is irrelevant to the point i’m trying to make.

Everywhere you go in this country, someone is angry at the Government while others are simply scared. The overriding emotion however is anger. Anger at paycuts, increased taxes, cutbacks in vital services; the list goes on and this is even before the upcoming draconian budget. But none of this has been shown on the streets. The only thing that the majority of people have done is complain yet, as I have mentioned, they are furious with the Government. Today however showed that this anger can in fact reach the streets and actually, quite literally, reach into the heart of the Government; in particular the Department of Finance. As I was watching it unfold via the internet, it was as if all of the anger in this country had finally shown itself in the form of a small group of students/activists.

The simple fact is that the Government needs to be reminded that they should fear the people and not the other way around. We have nothing to fear from the Government but it is quite obvious that they are extremely fearful of the fallout from their cretinous mishandling of this country. The deployment of riot police and the brutality they inflicted on behalf of the Government shows this. I had read a number of months ago about members of the Gardaí engaging in riot control training, in preparation for a “winter of discontent”, and now they have gotten their practise in. They too have had their own policing microcosm.

What happened today really was a turning point. From here on in, the Government will no longer be able to control the anger that is reaching boiling point around the country. They can no longer placate the Irish people with platitudes and promises of corners being turned. A great man once said that “you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”. Here’s hoping.