The campaign group TCD Cut the Rent have called for students in Trinity Hall and in on-campus accommodation to take part in a rent strike whereby they would withhold the second installment of this year’s rent, due around Christmas, unless their demands are met.
The announcement was made at a meeting of the organisation held this evening in the Arts Block and attended by approximately 20 students.
The demands of the organisation, as laid out at the meeting, are a significant reduction in rent and for a new fund to be established by Trinity to aid students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to pay for the cost of accommodation through college.
TCD Cut the Rent launched their campaign on Thursday September 26, in an effort to combat the rising costs of student accommodation in Dublin. Previously, the group advocated “a series of smaller-scale actions, while also looking to “popularise the idea of” rent strikes. This meeting marked the first official call for a rent strike from the group.
Some students at the meeting expressed doubts about how willing students would be to take part in a rent strike and that the group were “overestimating” the number of students who would participate. These concerns, however, were dismissed by the majority at the meeting.
The group organisers stressed the importance of getting Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) on board if the campaign was to succeed. To this end, the group intends to draft a motion to be brought before the next TCDSU Council at the end of the month to get the support of the union.
One member of the group asserted that Michelle Bryne, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) campaigns officer, was “on-board and keen to muck in as soon as possible”.
Aislinn Shanahan Daly, another member said that in conversations with Byrne, she had been “completely supportive” and encouraged the group to bring a motion to USI council. She stated that she would put together a “how to” on rent strikes to circulate around other colleges.
Group organisers also said that they hoped to print leaflets and organise teams of volunteers to go around the on-campus accommodation buildings to canvass for support. The group said it would then aim to create a list of names and email addresses of people in each building who are supportive to meet with them and encourage them to join the campaign.