Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan was escorted from the Synge Lecture theatre via an emergency exit to avoid a protest by the Postgraduate Workers’ Organisation (PWO) this afternoon.
Protesting outside the J. M. Synge lecture theatre in the Arts Building where Ryan was speaking, members of the PWO called on Ryan to “stop evictions”, following the Green Party’s support for an end to the eviction ban in the Dáil yesterday.
Speaking to Trinity News, Conor Reddy of TCD PWO explained that members were made aware of Ryan’s address in the Arts Building and decided that “the day after the eviction ban has been abolished by the government… it’s important that he’s opposed and that he knows that he’s not welcome at this university”.
“Members of ours are PhDs on below the living wage [and] face eviction and very, very short prospects of actually finding affordable places to live.”
“Eamon needs to know that he’s met with resistance wherever he goes, and he represents, in fact, a very small number of people in this country: landlords, institutional investors, not the interests of PhDs or the vast majority of renters and people in this country.”
Ryan’s address was also disrupted by a group of Students4Change, Extinction Rebellion TCD, Time to Act TCD, Connolly Youth Movement and Trinity People Before Profit activists who criticised the government’s environmental policies and the Greens’ support to end the eviction ban.
They were removed by security after they disrupted the event by targeting questions to Ryan about the government’s environmental policies and the Green Party’s support for a Dáil vote to end the ban on no-fault evictions yesterday.
Members of College security stood outside the lecture theatre to prevent protestors from getting inside and to escort students leaving other lectures.
Provost Linda Doyle criticised the disruption in an impromptu appearance at the end of the event, saying “I would like to think that people in Trinity can cope with different views, different opinions, and listen to those respectfully”.
Members of PWO also protested outside the Dáil earlier today, demanding that the government review of supports for PhD researchers is completed in time for action to be taken in this year’s budget.