Students at the University of Limerick (UL) are following the lead of other student groups including those at Trinity by calling for an end to the direct provision system.
UL students are demanding the university reconsider its contract with Aramark, a food catering company which runs three direct provision centres, as well as several restaurants, vending machines and cafes at UL. UL Student Life are calling on UL to re-evaluate its contract with Aramark if the company “continue to profit from this inhumane system”.
UL Student Life, the student representative body for UL students, are planning to host monthly demonstrations and boycotts and meet with university staff to reduce Aramark’s presence on campus. They are also seeking to an end to the direct provision system, urging the the Government to replace it “in accordance with recommendations from relevant advocacy groups and governing bodies”.
Trinity students launched a similar boycott campaign against Aramark last November. Their aim was to permanently remove Aramark from the campus, according to a member of the boycott campaign, Jessica Dolliver, who stated that “companies like Aramark are benefiting from the exploitation and ill-treatment of these people. No person should have their personal freedoms removed in such a dehumanizing way”.
Aramark provides food for three direct provision centers and accommodates 850 asylum seekers in Cork, Athlone and Clare. According to the 2016 annual report by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), Aramark was paid €5.2 million by the Irish state. Up to 2010, Aramark also received €16 million from the state.
Trinity’s current contract with Aramark lasts until 2019, which is open to being extended until 2021.