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hunger blames UCC food bank runs dry in 50 mins as students appeal to Government over high rents and fees

Students had to be turned away as demand outstripped supply


The food bank ran out of supplies after just 48 minutes on Wednesday evening. Photo: UCC Student Union.

The food bank ran out of supplies after just 48 minutes on Wednesday evening. Photo: UCC Student Union.

The food bank ran out of supplies after just 48 minutes on Wednesday evening. Photo: UCC Student Union.

A fundraising drive set up to ease food poverty in UCC has raised more than €7,000 in 12 hours after a food bank in the college ran out in less than an hour on Wednesday.

Students queued at the first food bank run by the UCC Students’ Union and many people had to be turned away as demand far outstripped supply.

More than 100 students were supported by the food bank but many had to be turned away as supplies ran out much quicker than anticipated.

“This is the seriousness of the situation we are currently in not only in Cork but in this Country,” the students’ union executive said.

“It was heartbreaking to not have enough for students who came afterwards, to have to turn them away and to see the amount of students living with food insecurity,” a statement continued.

As well as accepting financial contributions, the union is accepting donations of food and hygiene products to its office on College Road between 10-1 and 2-5, Monday-Friday.

Asha Woodhouse, UCC Students’ Union president, described the situation as “heartbreaking”, and the students’ union has called for immediate action from the Government.

“Fifty minutes in, we’ve run out of food and have had to turn students away. Heartbreaking to not have enough and to see so many students experiencing food insecurity. Is this the UCC and country we are supposed to be proud of?” Ms Woodhouse said, appealing to Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris.

Welfare Officer for the students’ union Caoimhe Walsh said the food bank ran out of food twice and described it as a “sad day for the country”.

A Cork TD is to ask senior ministers if they “feel ashamed” that the food bank ran out in less than an hour.

Cork North Central TD Mick Barry will raise the issue of hungry students queuing at food banks on the floor of the Dáil today.

The People Before Profit deputy has said he will ask senior ministers whether they “feel ashamed” that this is happening at one of Ireland’s largest universities and what degree of “personal responsibility” they feel for the events.

"You can't be expected to study philosophy for four years or master the novels of the nineteenth century on a diet of cereal, coffee and skipping meals. I want to congratulate the student union for setting up the food bank,” he said.

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“It's an act of solidarity not an act of charity and it has shone a strong light on the reality of student poverty. The people who are looking bad in this light are not the students but the Government ministers who have failed to act on high rents and high fees,” Deputy Barry said.

The deputy will ask whether any action will be taken to remove Ireland from top place in the EU table of highest third level fees. He will also ask why the Government continues to oppose a national rent freeze when it is increasingly clear that rent cuts are needed.

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