‘Suzanne’, who was among those attempting to pelt Enda Kenny with eggs at UCD yesterday, defends her protest.
To my Students’ Union,
I am writing you this letter to explain my motives for ‘attacking’ Enda Kenny yesterday. I hope you will excuse my terrible writing, but I feel that I have the right to explain, if not defend my actions.
I realise that more than likely I am in the minority of students. I have by all standards not had the best time in life. During my studies at UCD I have had some very good times and some very bad times, so I guess I will start at the beginning.
I entered first year of UCD in 2009 to study Mathematical Science. I had already dropped out of Queen’s in Belfast, as I could not cope with college after having been raped the summer previous. Being raped is something which has essentially all but destroyed my life. I started self-harming, the scars on my arms are still very visible; I think that I attended maybe 6 weeks of my entire first year. The rest was spent in psych wards or being ferried from counsellor to psychologist to psychiatrist.
I still passed though, and most of that was down to Scott Ahearn, Welfare Officer at the time. He took me to doctor’s appointments, found me somewhere to live. He was the first person I phoned when I got arrested (Section 12 of the Mental Health Act if you’re wondering). I owe so much to him. I also come from an estate where very few people go on to third level education; instead they turn to drugs and paramilitaries. It is a constant source of amazement to my family that I went. I often get told by them that ‘people like us don’t go to college.’ My only hope is to prove them wrong.
When I began second year things weren’t much better, by this stage I had moved house 5 times, each move being a runner from one house to another in the middle of the night. I had no money, no food and it was looking very likely I would have no home either. I ended up in the psych ward again, I couldn’t cope. I decided that the best plan of action was to defer a year, to get a job, so as to have some money. It was easier said than done, but I did eventually start working with disabled students in DCU. It paid less than the dole, but it was more money than I had ever had. In this time I did become homeless, I lived with people who ended up putting a knife to my other housemate’s throat.
Third year has been slightly better, yes I am repeating a lot of exams, I still struggle to cope, but I have been getting by.
So I guess I should tell you why all this is relevant.
Enda Kenny, dear leader of our government, will no doubt raise fees in the budget next week, he will cut my disability benefit (the only reason why I have money this year), he will cut the grant, psych wards are already falling apart from lack of funding, not to mention the fact that the Rape Crisis Centre in Dublin has to ask for donations for counselling.
Am I expected to stand by and watch while he opens something I contributed money (money I really didn’t have) to? That was never going to happen. On a more personal note, Enda Kenny and Fine Gael believe I should spend life in prison for having an abortion. For making the most responsible choice for me, they believe I should be punished. I guess it is selfish to egg the man who wants you in prison, but I am not going to apologise for that.
I stand by my actions; I feel that everything has been blown incredibly out of proportion. (It was an egg like). If the Students’ Union had organised a peaceful protest I would have taken part in that, but they didn’t and it was left to me and other angry students to do something. It saddens me that the Students’ Union would condemn me, but I understand why. I understand that this doesn’t fit in with the nice plan of lobbying and marching from A to B, but I am sick of being walked over, I am sick of struggling through life and I can tell you now that this is only the beginning.
I am angry, I am sad, but most of all I am determined that eventually something good will be achieved.