Motions to introduce a housing rights officer and to establish a partnership with the Community Action Tenants’ Union (CATU) has been approved by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) council.
According to the proposal, the housing officer will represent students living in both Trinity-owned accommodation and other forms of housing.
The new part-time officer (PTO) will also “assist the president and other sabbatical and part-time officers in relation to campaigns relating to housing” and “research housing issues students are facing”.
The motion, proposed by TCDSU President László Molnárfi and seconded by Deputy STEM Officer Sé Ó hÉidhin, noted the housing crisis “is worsening, and is tearing apart the social fabric of Irish society and leading to the scapegoating of refugees and international protection applicants”.
“The developer-led, market-based provision of housing, which has inevitably deepened the housing crisis even further, continues to be the policy adopted by the government,” it said.
“Students are being made homeless, couch-surfing with friends or even being forced to drop out of education altogether due to the housing crisis.
“TCDSU has a responsibility to campaign on the issue of housing, yet this important issue does not have a Part-Time Officer, unlike in Maynooth Students’ Union.”
Council later voted in favour of introducing a partnership between TCDSU and CATU, a membership-based union for renters, council tenants, mortgage holders and those in direct provision and emergency accommodation.
The housing officer will be responsible for the union’s liaisons with CATU and “other housing groups considered relevant”.
The second motion, also proposed by Molnárfi, noted “CATU uses grassroots action to defend renter’s interests in housing related issues”.
“Despite TCDSU collaborating with CATU in various ways, no formal partnership between the two organisations exists,” it said.
“With housing becoming one of the most important issues for the TCDSU in recent years, owing to the dire situation, it is time to formalise this relationship.
“Entering into this memorandum of agreement strengthens the TCDSU, because it would be joining forces with an organisation solely focused on campaigning for housing justice, and a national organisation that goes beyond Trinity.”
The two motions were previously proposed as one motion at the first council of the academic year on October 3 by Molnárfi.
Members of council voted to separate the motions as they were seen as “separate issues”.