Students from several groups gathered in the Business School today in protest against an event featuring Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe.
The protest was organised by Trinity People Before Profit (TCD PBP), Students4Change (S4C), Extinction Rebellion TCD, time to act TCD, and Student Climate Coalition. The protestors highlighted their concerns with an array of issues including students rights, the housing crisis, climate change, the cost of living crisis and trans rights.
The protesters broke into a series of chants using a megaphone including “Paschal out” and “When students rights are under attack stand up fight back”. One protester carried a sign with the slogan “Corporate greed drives inflation.”
During the protest, S4C Chair, and Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Elect, László Molnárfi accused the government of “committing social murder every day” and said that Government representatives “need to be held accountable at every level”.
The protesters criticised the event for pre-screening questions and for not allowing students to attend, calling it a “PR event” and “an absolute shambles”.
Speaking to Trinity News, Molnárfi said: “We’re here today to protest this government that has brought so much destruction to our communities. Students and staff are struggling to make ends meet, to pay for groceries. People are living in insecurity not knowing if they’ll have a roof over their heads, and this is a direct result of the government’s neoliberal capitalist policies.”
“The purpose of this protest is to embarrass them, to make sure that the public sees who they truly are and what they’ve done. And at the next election we can boot them out,” he added.
TCDSU President Gabi Fullam also attended the protest. She told Trinity News that the Union “consistently protest the government on issues related to higher education”. She also criticised College for “blaming” issues on underfunding while being “ weak to criticise the government or to speak up on that underfunding”.
In an email yesterday to Provost Linda Doyle, Molnárfi criticised the “trend of inviting high-profile public figures and only having pre-filtered and pre-submitted Q/A sessions”, calling it “very concerning and is completely antithetical to the values our university claims to uphold”.
Today’s protests come just one week after Minister Eamon Ryan was forced to leave through an emergency exit following multiple protests against his attendance on campus.
Ryan’s address last week was disrupted by student activists, including Mólnárfi, who told Ryan that “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”.