Cut the Rent TCD not planning a rent strike for 2021

Speaking to Trinity News, a spokesperson for the group has said that they won’t be able to “effectively organize” a rent strike

A spokesperson for Cut the Rent TCD, speaking to Trinity News, has confirmed that the activist group will “not be able to” organize a rent strike for the upcoming year.

The campaign group was set up last September with an aim to fight the rising costs of student accommodation in Dublin..

The group had originally planned to hold a rent strike in January 2020; however, this was postponed following concerns of “low participation and exam pressure”. This made the group turn its attention to potential action in the 2020/2021 academic year instead.

The activist group has now confirmed that it will not be proposing such action this year.

Speaking to Trinity News, a spokesperson for Cut the Rent TCD said: “It looks like we won’t be able to effectively organise a rent strike this year (but if others decided to organise, we would of course support them).”

The group were involved in a series of protests on campus last year, including a protest in which the group placed a mock eviction notice outside the Provost’s house last November.

“We have a limited number of active members, and the logistics of organising a rent strike in the next few months would demand a lot more work than we have the capacity for at the minute,” the spokesperson explained.

They added: “Hopefully in the near future we will be able to start organising again.”

When asked if Covid-19 has impacted their ability to organise, the group said the virus has “absolutely” impacted their plans for the upcoming year.

“Covid has presented very significant barriers to organising,” they explained. “We no longer have the option of engaging with students face-to-face, through stalls, canvassing, and public meetings, etc.”

“This sort of work is crucial to campaign-building and is not something which can be easily replicated online.”

Cut the Rent TCD expressed regret for the lack of action this year: “The timing of the lockdown was also very disruptive for Cut The Rent – we were making good progress at the beginning of this year and then had to cease all activity suddenly and indefinitely.”

 A report this June showed that rents rose 0.2% from June 2019 to June 2020, with the average monthly listed rent now €1,402.

However, the price of houses to buy was 3.3% lower in June 2020 than the same month a year prior.

Proposals were made previously this year that student accommodation be transformed into co-living areas during the Covid-19 pandemic. Darragh Moriarty said, speaking on the proposal, that student accommodation “always had the potential to be a backdoor for co-living”.

Co-living is a communal living system, where residents live in their own bedrooms with shared common areas or community spaces available to residents.

Union of Students in Ireland (USI) President Lorna Fitzpatrick and Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Eoin Hand condemned Dublin City Council plans to operate student accommodation as co-living following the Covid-19 pandemic, following the comments made last July.

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.