Rent strikes on the horizon as Trinity students launch campaign group

The group say they will encourage “a series of smaller scale actions” before considering rent strikes

A campaign has today been launched by students in Trinity which seeks to combat the rising costs of student accommodation in Dublin. Cut The Rent TCD was launched on Facebook today, and is calling on  tenants, activist groups, and political parties to come together to pressure College to lower the cost of student accommodation.

In a statement, the group said that they believe universities have taken the recent rise in the average rent prices in Ireland as “yet another opportunity to shake down students for cash”. They highlighted the fact that the college increased rents this year despite turning over a profit of €10.9 million on accommodation services in 2018.

“Faced with poor conditions, high rent and a squeeze on access – we have a choice to make, fight back now or be walked over. We need to cut the rent.”

Cut The Rent TCD likened their cause to that of the University College London students who took part in rent strikes in 2016 and 2017. Over 200 student tenants withheld rent payments for five months, and were eventually granted a £1.4 million pledge toward bursaries for 2016/17.

The group have not called for an immediate rent strike, but said they could encourage “a series of smaller scale actions, protests, planning and grassroots organising”, While also looking to “popularise the idea of striking” among students, and form connections outside of Trinity.

The statement emphasised the need for solidarity between students during their campaign, calling on those not living in student accommodation to join those taking action.

Aislinn Shanahan Daly, one of the organisers of the group and a member of Trinity People Before Profit, called for students to take action, saying that “We need a campaign that revives the spirit of Take Back Trinity”, the campaign which successfully protested the introduction of a €450 fee for repeat examinations in 2018.

Another of the groups coordinators, Conor Reddy, an activist in the Take Back the City movement, said: “The student housing movement, as an aspect of the housing emergency, could be the spark to reignite a radical housing movement that wins for students, young people, and everyone else in need of decent housing.”

The group has said they want to gain support for their cause Cut The Rent TCD is holding their first meeting in on 1 October in the Arts Block, room 5033.

Patrick Coyle

Patrick Coyle is a News Analysis Editor for Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister student of English Literature and Spanish.