BREAKING NEWS: THE HEAD of Ireland’s largest students’ union has been arrested by Gardai.
Donegal man John Logue, the head of the Union of Students in Ireland, was handcuffed and led away by Gardai in the Dail.
Gardai are questioning him about an alleged breach of Dail rules.
It’s understood he was taking part in a protest demanding student rights, particularly relating to the debacle in the student grant allocation which has left 50,000 students without a grant payment.
He was with 100 other students in the gallery observing a Private Members Bill from Fianna Fail.
All the students then stood up and turned their backs on proceedings in protest at amendments from Government parties.
Logue was told to sit down by security staff and when he didn’t, he was arrested.
A USI spokesman said: “John Logue was arrested for the simple act for turning his back on a Dáil which has turned its back on students.
“By voting down an amendment that would have preserved the current level of the grant and stopped fee hikes, this government has once again failed students and families.
“Logue was supported by over 100 students, including sabbatical officers from TCDSU, DITSU and NCISU. It was a peaceful act of civil disobedience, intended to highlight the issues facing students, especially as students face into €3000 fees, cuts to the grant and a grant system that has only paid out to a minority of students who qualify for it.”
Donegal South West TD Pearse Doherty immediately demanded his release from custody.
The gallery in the Dail was packed with students at the time.
“Mr Logue should be released without charge immediately,” said Deputy Doherty.
His party colleague Jonathon O’Brien commented: “It’s ironic that if you wreck the economy you get a €500k per year salary, but if you stand up for students you are slapped in handcuffs.”
The 23-year-old Letterkenny man has had an increasingly high profile in recent weeks as the grants crisis grew.
Earlier today there were protests in Galway at the government’s handling of student issues.