Student activist forcibly removed from Blockchain event in Business School by Trinity professor

A group of climate protestors interrupted a Blockchain Ireland event sponsored by Citi, the world’s second largest fossil fuel financier

A student activist was thrown out of an event in Trinity Business School by an adjunct assistant professor this morning, after a group of climate protestors disrupted the event which was sponsored by Citi, the second largest financier of fossil fuels in the world.

A video of the incident appears to show Lory Kehoe, an adjunct assistant professor in technology trends in College and founder of Blockchain Ireland, removing Nathan Hutchinson Edgar from Dargan Theatre, where Kehoe’s company were holding an event. 

Hutchinson Edgar, who was elected Environmental Officer of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) last month, shouted “we need a future” as he was dragged out of the venue.

In a statement to Trinity News, College said it is “looking into the matter to determine if existing protocols around event management and security were followed”.

Hutchinson Edgar was part of a group of protestors who had previously been picketing outside the event, led by activist group Uplift and including members of Extinction Rebellion (XR), Students4Change (S4C) and People Before Profit (PBP).

Interrupting a panel discussion, Hutchinson Edgar condemned Citi for destroying the environment and their links to fossil fuels. Last month, a report showed Citi to be the world’s second largest funder of fossil fuels

It has also been linked with the Alaska Willow Project, an oil drilling project recently greenlit by the Biden administration which will destroy vast expanses of natural habitats while extracting 600 million barrels of oil over the next 30 years.

Other Uplift activists also emerged holding a banner and continuing to call out Citi, before likewise being removed from the premises.

Following the protest, Hutchinson Edgar said: “We are seeing an expansion of fossil fuel interests, just as we need them least. We can build a better, more sustainable future only when corporate giants stop funding the climate crisis.”

“If there was ever a time to act, it’s now,” he added.

The focus of the event itself also drew criticism from those concerned about blockchain and cryptocurrency’s environmental impact. 

Although not present, TCDSU President-elect and S4C chairperson László Molnárfi voiced his full support for the protestors.

Molnárfi said: “While theoretically blockchain technology could be harnessed for the public good, in practice under capitalism they are mere tools for capital accumulation and speculation”, further stating that most uses of the technology are “environmentally disastrous”. 

Bitcoin, the most prominent cryptocurrency, all of which depend on blockchain technology, releases carbon emissions at a rate of over 60 megatons a year due to the computing power required. 

Molnárfi continued: “Opposed to the claim by those promoting this event, blockchain technologies do nothing to solve the crises facing humanity, including income inequality and poverty, climate disaster and war.”

Molnárfi called on College to hold more events addressing “public policy to deal with societal issues” and not just those that “pander to the rich”.

Article was updated at 18:29 to update the statement from College.

David Wolfe

David Wolfe is a Junior Sophister student of History and Political Science. He is the current Social Media and Managing Editor of Trinity News, having previously served as News Editor, Assistant News Editor and copyeditor.