Climate protesters reject Gardaí warning following Trinity vandalism

System Change Ireland vandalized College by spray-painting logos on the walls, and have been issued a warning by An Garda Síochana

Today, System Change Ireland co-founder Ronan Browne has declined the adult caution given to him following the vandalization that took place on College grounds.

Two climate change activists from System Change Ireland were arrested on the afternoon of August 15, following a protest action at Trinity as part of the group’s “Mobilise Peace TCD” campaign.

The student and former teacher graffitied the outside of Trinity’s Sports Centre, spray painting messages in black and bright green on the building. The slogans included “Mobilise Peace TCD”, “Break the Vicious Cycle” and “Trinity Knows”. 

In an open letter to An Garda Síochana this afternoon, Ronan Browne wrote that he has decided he will “not be able to accept this caution”.

Stating his reasons for this, Browne stated despite knowledge of the “severity and urgency” of the climate crisis, Trinity have “remained institutionally silent” and “continues to fail to take peaceful yet proportionate action to overcome” climate change.

Browne explained: “As a trainee educator, it is my solemn duty to prepare students for the future.”

He continued: “If, somehow, there is any future for our students, a peaceful civil resistance is required across Earth to bring about democratically deliberated system change.”

The letter continued to state that universities have “failed most horrifically” to prepare students to campaign for change through peaceful resistance. 

“If universities were doing what they were meant to do, the likes of Friday’s for futures and Extinction Rebellion would never have to exist.”

The environmental campaign run by System Change Ireland, Mobilise Peace TCD, are set to call on College to facilitate an “emergency assembly and university referendum” on the climate crisis and climate action.

Speaking on his rejection of the caution, Browne said: “If the judge presiding over this case truly believes in the charges pressed against me, then I will welcomely invite the maximum penalty punishable for these supposed crimes in order to shed due light on these continued institutional indignities.”

“If the judge does not believe in these charges, they should resign and join humanity,” Browne concluded.

He then urged the Garda who issued the caution that if he no longer “believes in the appropriateness of a caution here”, then perhaps he should also “resign and join humanity”.

Speaking to Trinity News, Browne said: “The students and staff of Trinity who have justifiably lost faith that our institutions will do what is necessary on climate, need to join System Change Ireland and fast.”

“Our government is not coming to save us,” he continued. “University management have abandoned us and do not truly care about us.” 

This article was amended at 5:01pm to specify that System Change Ireland co-founder Ronan Browne was the one to decline the adult caution. A previous version of the article stated that System Change Ireland had denied the caution.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.