A group of Students4Change, Extinction Rebellion TCD, Time to Act TCD, Connolly Youth Movement and Trinity People Before Profit activists were removed by security from an address by Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan after they disrupted the event by targeting questions about the government’s environmental policies and Ryan’s party’s support for a Dáil vote to end the eviction ban yesterday.
The group included Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President-elect László Molnárfi.
One protestor holding a sign which read “act like it’s a climate emergency” told Ryan that the Green Party’s “pairing of neoliberal economic policies with climate change measures has led to poverty and hardship for members of the Irish working class”.
Molnárfi addressed the Green Party’s support in removing the eviction ban: “Minister Eamon Ryan, blood is on your hands and the Green Party’s hands due to your complicity in the neoliberal government that has just voted to end the eviction ban.”
“You are making thousands and thousands of people homeless, and families and children and blood is on your hands.”
Trinity People Before Profit representative Lean said: “You’re putting up to 27,000 working class people on the chopping block.”
Yesterday, the Green Party voted with the government to end a ban on no-fault evictions, which was introduced at the end of October last year.
Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan was suspended from the party for 15 months for breaking the party line.
In a statement, the party said: “The parliamentary party regrets having to take these steps but believes that effectiveness in government relies on unity in every vote.”
Another protestor noted that “it was only three years ago when you and your colleagues lied to us about how you would never enter a coalition with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil”.
College security removed protestors from the address.
Speaking to Trinity News after being removed, Molnárfi said, “this event seeks to legitimise the government, and to greenwash the actions of this government, and also to present the actions of the government as if they’re actually doing something when they’re not.”
“We will take a peaceful, civil act of resistance to protest this government and their destructive actions.”
A member of the audience addressed Ryan to say that while he disagreed with many of the minister’s policies, he opposed the disruption by the protestors, which received a round of applause from a majority of attendees.
Professor Iris Möller, who hosted the address, apologised for the disruption and said that it is “much more helpful to have a dialogue around this”.
Resuming his address, Ryan said that he was “glad” that he started his speech by saying that Ireland “should not rely on neoliberal economics as a solution and social justice has to be part of the core. That is what I believe”.
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.
Additional reporting by Alan Nolan Wilson, Kate Byrne, Madison Pitman, and Conor Healy.
This article was updated at 1:57pm to reflect that other student groups aside from Students4Change were involved in today’s protest. A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed the protest solely to Students4Change.