Members of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) council clashed over a motion to form a partnership with the Community Action Tenants’ Union (CATU) and introduce a housing rights officer.
The motion was delayed to the next council meeting following debate among council members.
Proposed by TCDSU President László Molnárfi, the motion called for a formal partnership with CATU, a membership-based union for renters, council tenants, mortgage holders and those in direct provision and emergency accommodation.
The motion also proposed the introduction of a part-time housing rights officer to liaise with CATU and represent students living in both Trinity-owned accommodation and other forms of housing.
Mature Students Officer Ailish Smith proposed an amendment to the motion to remove the partnership with CATU, saying it a “separate issue” from the introduction of a housing officer.
“It is very difficult if you agree to one issue but not with another,” she said.
She noted there are several housing organisations TCDSU should get involved with beyond CATU.
In response, Molnárfi said the housing officer and the partnership with CATU is “inextricably linked” but the housing officer would not be obligated to only liaise with CATU.
A proposal to amend the motion to remove the partnership with CATU was approved, but another proposal was put forward to delay voting on the motion until the next council meeting.
Council member Sé Ó hÉidin said the motion should be delayed as without a partnership with CATU, the introduction of a housing officer “doesn’t make sense”.
Speaking to Trinity News ahead of council, Molnáfi said the union “needs to take an active stance on housing and the government’s utter failure in providing affordable housing in Ireland”.
“Through adopting the CATU partnership agreement, we will be allying ourselves with a mutual aid group that protects tenants,” he said.
“Through the agreement, we will be running membership drives amongst students for CATU, thus defending student rights, as well as this we will be involved in joint housing campaigns with CATU.”
Additional reporting by Kate Henshaw, Aoibhínn Clancy, Emily Sheehan, Maddy Pitman, Charlotte Kent and Aidan Cusack.