Students of at least four societies and three department trips have been left stranded around Europe, as their flights home after their reading week trips abroad were cancelled.
Members of Dublin University History society (DU History), Dublin University Music (DU Music) society, Trinity Literary Society (LitSoc) and Dublin University Archeology (DU Archeology) society are currently stuck in Prague, Paris, Berlin and Rome respectively due to the flight cancellations to Dublin Airport. European Studies students are currently stuck in Berlin, Engineering students in Liverpool, while the History of Art and Architecture department’s return flights to Dublin were also cancelled this afternoon. The societies and course trips had planned on returning to Ireland from their reading week ventures, however their plans have been affected by the widespread travel disruption due to Storm Emma.
DU History society are still in Prague after Ryanair issued a cancellation notice on all flights to Dublin this afternoon. The society had originally intended to fly out today and arrive in Dublin for 6pm this evening. The 50 students on the trip were told to make their own way home or to stay with the society and wait for return flights to be reorganised, with the next return flight scheduled for this Saturday.
DU History society Ordinary Committee Member (OCM) Cormac J. Dowdall contacted the Irish embassy on the society’s behalf. In their response, the embassy stated that they could only provide limited support but they “are aware of the situation” and offered support for securing accommodation if the society failed to do so.
The society members are staying in Prague Square Hostel again this evening, and will fly to Stansted on Friday. From Stansted, the group will catch a connecting flight to Dublin, Auditor of DU History, Hayley Douglas, confirmed to Trinity News. Due to the delays, DU History society has secured extensions on assignments for Senior Fresh History and Politics students.
Members of DU Music have also been left stranded in Paris after their society’s reading week trip abroad also ran into trouble. Speaking to Trinity News, Eoin Hannaway, Chair of the society, stated that most society members abroad had planned to “leave tomorrow night,” while some had arranged to leave tonight. Flights have been cancelled from Paris this evening, “it’s looking likely that tomorrow will be the same scenario,” Hannaway commented.
The society has contacted the Central Societies Committee (CSC) for advice and will then contact Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) and the Irish Embassy in Paris, a member of the society told Trinity News.
“Our committee out here have been meeting to make sure our members out here with us are up to date in the conditions back home and taking the required steps to make sure we get home safe and sound as possible,” Hannaway said.
Members of LitSoc are also currently stuck in Berlin. The society members were due to fly back tomorrow but have received word that their flight has been cancelled, and are set to return on Saturday. Society members did not provide further comment.
History of Art and Architecture students had their flights from Paris cancelled this afternoon, and will return this Saturday to Dublin. European Studies students will have to remain in Berlin, with return flights also on Saturday.
60 Engineering students were left stranded following their mystery tour to Liverpool, with the students aiming to catch a ferry back to Dublin.
Return flights scheduled for tomorrow evening from Rome were cancelled, with DU Archeology members aiming for a flight on Friday.
Speaking to Trinity News, Andrew Wood Martin, a first year European Studies student, said: “The trip was meant to last 3 days, but for some of us it’s going to last 6-8 days. We have a history essay due in less than 3 weeks and can’t get any of that work done. On the plus side, the hostel staff have been so friendly and co-operative. On the downside, we’re running out of clothes and money, and the temperatures are as low as -12 degrees every day.”
Some students from Germanic Theatre are also stranded. Following the conclusion of their annual trip to Tübingen to perform a play earlier this week, some students ventured across Europe, where three are currently stranded after their flight to Dublin was cancelled this afternoon. Speaking to Trinity News, Pierce O’Meara said that he and two other Law and German students are stuck in Milan for “at least two additional days”. “To be fair, there are worse places to be stuck,” he said. The students have had to “negotiate an extension of our stay” and to arrange “for funds to be sent from home in order to pay the increased hostel bill”. Other students are in Berlin, Stuttgart, Strasbourg and Schipole.
Q Soc has been forced to cancel their scheduled trip to Berlin, which was to take place from March 1 to 3. Speaking to Trinity News, organiser of the trip, James Power, said: “It’s kind of annoying but there’s really nothing we can do. It’s obviously the safest option to cancel the flights and at least everywhere looks pretty.”
Dublin University Management Science Society (DUMSS) were also obliged to cancel their mystery tour to Madrid. Speaking to Trinity News, Treasurer Devin Connolly explained that students had boarded flights with Aer Lingus and Ryanair, which were expected to take of after 6am this morning. “The Aer Lingus flight boarded their plane at about 10am, while those of us on Ryanair waited in the bar in [Terminal 1]. The services desk told us all flights were cancelled from Dublin before it was announced over the intercom at 11.30am. The Aer Lingus flight were told they were deicing before being informed there flight was also cancelled at around 12. It took them at least another half an hour to be let off the plane.”
Connolly continued: “All in all, I was in the airport for about eight hours. Regarding a refund, our hostel have said they cannot refund us, and we will get in touch with the carriers tomorrow was there was a lot of people in customer services queues today (a member of staff estimated 3,000 people). We will refund to the cost of flights to our members if it gets refunded to us.” Connolly also stated that society members were informed they “may be able to move the flights to April and go on our trip then”.
Other society trips have reported no issues with regards the weather. An Cumann Gaelach President Ciaran Wadd indicated that society members are set to return from Galway at 7pm this evening, and he “doubts there will be a problem”. Similarly, the Junior Common Room (JCR) trip to Lisbon has experienced no travel disruptions.
Damien McClean, TCDSU Welfare Officer, told Trinity News: “The Union is acutely conscious of the difficulties of some students disrupted by the recent weather. Not only will it be disruptive over there in regards to paying for extra accommodation on short notice, but it will disrupt study schedules during reading week.”
McClean urged students to contact TCDSU should they find themselves in need of support due to the adverse weather conditions and subsequent travel arrangements. “While it is not an ideal situation to be stuck abroad, it is very important for people to look after themselves. If students are faced with unforeseen accommodation or travel costs, I encourage them to contact me and we can arrange Welfare loans and financial support as is appropriate upon their return,” he said.
Additional reporting by Seana Davis, Michael Kelly, Aisling Grace, Suzanne Flynn, Grainne Sexton and Caoimhe Gordon.