Staff unions call on College to rescind €214k fine and divest from Israeli institutions

The IFUT and Unite also called on Higher Education Minister Patrick O’Donovan to “provide the minimum necessary resources” to financially support College

The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) and Unite the Union (Unite) have issued a joint statement calling on College to divest from Israeli institutions and to rescind the fine issued last week to Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TDSU).

The two trade unions, which represent College staff and workers at large respectively, emphasised the right of students to “protest and support their objectives in addressing student hardship and chronic underfunding of the higher education sector”.

Acknowledging the “very serious human rights issues” raised by the protest with relation to the ongoing genocide in Gaza, the IFUT and Unite said that the encampment has “serious implications for Trinity College and also raises crucial ethical concerns which are a matter of life and death in the Middle East”.

“We are urging the College leadership to cease any move towards disciplinary action against individual students and to withdraw the fine against [TCDSU],” the statement read.

“The current conflict between [College] management and student representatives can only be resolved through dialogue and negotiation.”

The unions also urged College to take measures to divest from companies which have been found to be linked to human rights violations either “in relation to the war making capacity of the Government of Israel at a time of humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza”, or to the long-running illegal occupation of the West Bank by Israel.

They also called for Minister for Further and Higher Education Patrick O’Donovan to “provide the minimum necessary resources” to financially support College were also made in the statement.

“Adequate public funding would end the constant cycle of fee increases which intensify student hardship and render unnecessary the College’s very significant reliance on funding from the Book of Kells,” it continued.

“The Minister cannot stand by and pretend this funding crisis and legitimate protest [has] nothing to do with him.”

The minister has been contacted for comment.

Protestors are now into their fifth day of the encampment on Fellows Square, with an estimated 100 students maintaining a presence at the camp.

Yesterday, College said it would take steps to review its ties to Israeli institutions through the establishment of an internal taskforce, and to divest from Israeli firms with interests in the Occupied Palestinian territory.

Trinity BDS welcomed the announcement from College, but vowed that the encampment would continue until all demands were “met in full”.

Evan Skidmore O’Reilly

Evan Skidmore O’Reilly is News Co-Editor for the 70th volume of Trinity News. He is a former Deputy News Editor, and is a current final year Business and Politics student.