A spokesperson for College confirmed that it is “neutral” on Israel’s assault on Gaza in a response to a complaint, an email exchange released under freedom of information (FOI) has revealed.
College first received a complaint, addressed to the provost, that its official X/Twitter account reshared a post from Green Party councillor Hazel Chu expressing support for comments made by Paddy Cosgrave criticising western governments’ response to “war crimes”.
Replying to the complaint, acting director of College’s communications office Sally-Anne Fisher explained that the post was “retweeted in error” and that it had been deleted.
“Our stance is to remain neutral on issues such as this and it is very regrettable that this happened,” she said.
While the reply was not issued by the provost, who received the original complaint, she was kept informed of all correspondence.
The exchange took place on October 23, over two weeks after the massive escalation of violence in Gaza which followed attacks by Hamas on October 7.
By October 23, over 5,000 Palestinians had been killed in Gaza, over 40% of them children.
Ten days previously, Israel’s assault on Palestinian civilians had been labelled “a textbook case of genocide” by Israeli professor of Holocaust studies Raz Segal, which was widely reported in international media.
To date, over 22,600 Palestinians have been killed according to Gaza’s health ministry, with almost 60,000 injured.
The UN has warned that half of Gaza’s population is at risk of starvation, while 90% of people in Gaza have said that they regularly go without food for whole days.
Human Rights Watch have condemned Israel for using starvation against people in Gaza, which constitutes a war crime. Last week, South Africa filed a case with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) charging Israel with genocide, which Israel has said it will fight.
Four senators, including Trinity Senator and former students’ union president Lynn Ruane, have urged the Irish government to initiate or join proceedings against Israel at the ICJ, citing Ireland’s obligation to uphold the genocide convention to which it is party.
College declined to comment when asked whether it has modified its stance since October 23.
It has remained publicly silent on the situation despite significant pressure from student groups, who have highlighted the hypocrisy of its strong public actions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In November, Trinity Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Group occupied Regent House, demanding that the College sever its ties with Israel.
Trinity continues to have ties to at least 12 Israeli organisations, through research collaboration and business relationships. Cumulatively, College receives over €2.5 million in funding for ongoing collaborative research projects which involve Israel, all funded by the European Commission.
Speaking at the demonstration, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President László Molnárfi said: “We, students, are disgusted by our College’s complicity in genocide and indiscriminate killing of men, women and children in Gaza perpetuated by the settler-colonial regime of Israel.”
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called on people to join its national demonstration for Palestine on January 13.