FIVE Cork Educate Together Secondary School (CETSS) students have installed a three-metre-long billboard on the Lower Glanmire Road, calling on the Government to accelerate its plan to end direct provision.
The transition-year students have been motivated by how direct provision has affected their schoolmates. The students — Sofya Abashko, Luke McDonnell, Rachel Young, Ella Harrington, and David Diogo — have also built a website and are part of the wider school group, CETSS Against Racism. The latter is developing an anti-racism policy for the school, as well as campaigning outside the school.
The students said that four more years are too long to end direct provision. “In February, Minister Roderic O’Gorman called the plan to end direct provision in 2024 ambitious, but it’s already been going on for 21 years, more than the lifetime of every student in our school,” said Rachel Young. “We know that government can act quickly when it needs to. Four more years is not ambitious, and we don’t accept this.”
The group’s pitch to the Young Social Innovators’ Dragons’ Den led to the billboard collaboration with Notes to Cork. Al Dalton, manager of Notes to Cork, said that it has been “very inspiring to collaborate with the CETSS students and to experience, at first-hand, their passion, knowledge, and rigour”.
CETSS is involved in social justice, equality, and environmental issues.
School principal, Colm O’Connor, said: “In an age of rising intolerance, it is heartening to see young people making strong statements in public that promote and defend the ideas of equality and solidarity.” Follow the campaign on social media at @4morebirthdays.