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Taking a stand

Welcome back to the latest issue of The University Express! The first two weeks of college have already flown by and, as I’m sure many of you are well aware, final year fear is beginning to rear its head once again. I myself this year have similar worries. As a psychology student (as I’m sure it is for any of the other survey-based subjects) getting participants for your research project must be one of the most difficult things in the world. You quickly realise that a mass e-mail just won’t cut it and that asking someone for even 10 minutes of their time is like asking for an internal organ, people are just so unwilling to give it up, but we continue asking nonetheless.

It’s been a very busy Christmas period for many, in particular to Pharmacy students up and down the country. For those not up to speed, pharmacy students have, in the past two months in particular, been protesting the fact that recent course alterations mean that it is illegal for students to be paid for their four month placement in fourth year and their eight month placement during their fifth year. This change has made it almost impossible for some students to live during their placement, considering the ever-rising cost of rent in every city, and the cost of transport to get them to their placement each day. The protest was also bringing attention to the fact that fees for fifth year have risen from €3,000 to €7,500.

Since December, representatives of all pharmacy students have appeared on TV and radio shows across every platform, including Joe Duffy’s Liveline show on RTÉ Radio One show, Red FM’s Neil Prendeville show, as well as Newstalk and Today FM. Last Thursday (January 24th), they marched on the Dáil Éireann protesting the changes and demanding that the possibility of payment be reinstated. Their protests took the front pages of almost every national newspaper in the country, and grabbed the attention of ministers and TD’s inside. Thankfully, the government has seen now seen sense, and the ban on paid placement has been lifted. Personally, this marks a special moment in student politics, the moment where university students came together and rallied behind a cause that impacted no one but themselves, and for it to get noticed and for alterations to be made nationally is an incredible achievement. Everyone from The University Express would like to congratulate everyone involved in the movement, and pharmacy students in particular for standing up for what’s fair.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the University Express, I hope you all have a fantastic week and that your FYP doesn’t put too much for a dampener on your mood. It will be over in no time!

All the best,