TCDSU and USI officers occupy the Department of Further and Higher Education offices

A Trinity College Students’ Union-organised protest, supported by the Union of Students in Ireland, today (Thursday, February 15) is demanding Government action on issues that are leaving students in crisis.

TCDSU, USI and Trinity students are assembling at Front Square at 11.11am this morning and march to the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to highlight the student accommodation crisis, the need for more student mental health resources and the need to abolish tuition fees.

TCDSU President, László Molnárfi said: “This Government has done undeniable harm to our communities. This is not by accident, or by incompetence. The system is working exactly as it is intended to. They follow a neoliberal capitalist economic policy, and represent big capital, vulture funds and corporations – not the people, our communities, and workers. Their policies have seen homelessness grow to unprecedented levels during their time in government, a failing healthcare system, a housing crisis, inaccessible education, and the suffering of so many people.

“It is not that they do not know. It is that they do not care. The time for respectability, lobbying and sitting down with the Ministers for a cup of coffee is over. This Government deserves to be called out at every possible occasion, wherever they go. Being neutral and lobbying them is not enough – we must, at the next general election, boot them out of power and remove them from their positions, every single last one of them.”

In a letter delivered today to the Department of Further and Higher Education (which is here), TCDSU says: “We have students from unsafe housing conditions begging us to get them on campus when we know there is no room at the inn. And staff are doing no better than students as they are forced to commute for hours, are unable to afford groceries and are quitting life-long careers in academia.”

Commenting on today’s action, USI President, Chris Clifford said: “USI is proud to support and stand with TCDSU today as they express their absolute anger at the crisis students are facing. We were glad to hear the announcement that the Government agrees with having a policy of public funding for student accommodation. But we are utterly disappointed when ‘a new strategy announcement’ proved to be just Government re-announcing the same policies and funding amounts and not publishing a student accommodation strategy, which is the only way for us to see if anything is actually being done.”