Provost Linda Doyle criticised the disruption of an address by Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan in an impromptu appearance at the end of the event.
The provost thanked Ryan for his attendance, saying: “I don’t agree with everything, but I think it’s really important that we are able to have somebody who is brave, who is willing to come here, who is willing to speak up.”
She added that while students have the right to protest, she would like to think that “people in Trinity can cope with different views, different opinions, and listen to those respectfully”.
“Some people may not realise that is not often the case, no matter what your opinion and whether you agree or disagree, it’s not often the case that ministers show up and answer questions in a completely open ended way.”
The Provost commended the Minister for his ability to answer questions without knowing them in advance.
The Provost also noted that sustainability is important to Trinity, and that despite the protests, Ryan is still “our minister”.
During Doyle’s speech, a protest held by the Postgraduate Workers’ Organisation could be heard outside the theatre.
Professor Iris Möller, who hosted the address, joked that she is a mother, so is used to ignoring noise. The Provost added that she “used to teach engineers”, so she is also used to it.
Doyle’s speech follows a targeted disruption of the event, which led to the removal of a group of student activists by security.
The group included Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President-elect László Molnárfi, as well as members of Students4Change, Time to Act TCD, Extinction Rebellion TCD, Connolly Youth Movement, and Trinity People Before Profit.
Ryan was invited to speak as part of College’s Green Week celebration. His address focused on government measures against the climate crisis in areas of transport, energy, and biodiversity.
This article was updated at 14.59 to include all groups who participated in the protest.