Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has pledged its support to a planned national student walkout on October 13.
The Union of Students’ in Ireland this week announced its intention to organise a mass walkout of students in higher level institutions across the country on October 13.
In a statement to Trinity News, TCDSU said: “[TCDSU] fully supports the National Housing Walkout on October 13 and we will be asking all schools to cooperate.”
“In just a few weeks, thousands of students will be arriving to start College and we worry about their safety because many of them still have nowhere safe, stable, and affordable to call home.”
The statement outlined the union’s demands of both College and government.
It called on College to immediately reduce rent in Trinity-owned accommodation, and to stop exploiting the crisis as a revenue source.
TCDSU also asked that College “implements a clear roadmap for supporting homeless students so that they can continue their studies,” and for it to be “transparent in their on-campus room allocations, so students have time to make informed choices and seek out alternative accommodation”.
Access to hybrid learning models was also a key demand, noting that “this is important for students with disabilities, students with caring obligations, students without flexible working hours, as well as students who are commuting long-distances or facing homelessness”.
“Every student needs equal access to adequate learning materials and should not be excluded from education by the housing crisis,” it added.
Lastly, TCDSU demanded that College “increases funding for the TCDSU Accommodation Advisory Service so that we can meet the needs of our students”.
The statement noted that “as more and more students arrive at College with nowhere to stay”, the unions’ current policy of offering support on a case-by-case basis “will become unsustainable”, calling on College to provide more long-term solutions.
The statement went on to criticise government housing policy: “This crisis is not new, it is a symptom of decades of government policy that has prioritised investment returns over affordability and the human right to safe and secure housing.”
It outlined five demands for government, including the enforcement of rent pressure zones, the introduction of stricter legal protections for “digs” accommodation, and an immediate and drastic increase in “publicly owned and funded accommodation for students and the general public”.
TCDSU also called on government to make the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) available to students, and to commit to a clear timeline on the referendum for a right to housing.
TCDSU has been continually vocal in its criticism of the accommodation crisis which is affecting students. Last September, the students’ union attended a housing protest outside the Dáil, saying at the time that “it is brutally clear that the Government needs to step up now”.