TDs celebrate College decision to divest from Israel, credit power of student protests

Labour Leader Ivana Bacik called on College to rescind the €214K fine imposed on the students’ union

Teachtaí Dála from across the party spectrum have celebrated College’s decision to take steps to fully divest from Israeli companies and to establish a taskforce to review its academic ties toIsraeli institutions.

This has been heralded as a landmark win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, as well as the most prominent success story of a student-led encampment in solidarity with Gaza.

Speaking to Trinity News briefly outside Front Gate, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett described the agreement between College and the protestors as a “huge step forward in the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions”.

“It’s a fantastic outcome for those who were involved in the occupation and the encampment”, he said, adding that “it’s to the great credit to the Students’ Union, individual students, and the Postgraduate Worker Organisation”.

“They have forced the college to do the right thing, to break all relations with a state that is guilty of genocide and apartheid.”

Describing the recent events in Trinity as “a beacon to other colleges and universities”, Boyd Barrett said he “would absolutely encourage” fellow students in the State to follow Trinity students’ example of establishing a Gaza-solidarity encampment.

He further hoped that “workers and trade unions will take similar actions to enforce the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign”.

“When governments fail, people have to act and Trinity students have demonstrated the power that people can have, and students can have, when they take action”.

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Further and Higher Education Mairéad Farrell TD said in a statement to Trinity News that she congratulates the students involved “for taking such a brave stand against the genocide in Gaza and for representing the BDS campaign so well.”

“It is heartening to see staff and students coming together in solidarity with the people of Gaza. I am glad to see the college authorities have now made the right decision”, she said.

“It is always difficult to be the ones to take a stand in the face of the risk of punitive action. Nevertheless, the bravery of those involved has led to a great victory and should serve as an inspiration for BDS campaigners everywhere”, she concluded.

Farrell has introduced drafted legislation to the Oireachtas to mandate that Irish universities “do not invest” in companies that support “certain Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”.

Leader of the Labour Party Ivana Bacik welcomed the agreement between College and the encampment protestors, saying that “it is clear that the protests led by Trinity College Dublin students have made a difference”.

Bacik also served as President of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) in the early 90s, and resigned from her post after she dissented from a mandated vote in an Union for Students in Ireland (USI) election.

“Their dedication and perseverance should be commended, and their demands for divestment and accountability must be heeded”.

“Trinity students have been leading the charge for accountability and justice. Today’s announcement represents a significant step forward, in keeping with the growing recognition that institutions must reassess their roles in perpetuating injustices and human rights violations”. 

She acknowledged the international context of the encampment on Fellows’ Square, adding that “their activism serves as a powerful reminder that universities have an ethical obligation to divest from systems of oppression and to stand on the right side of history”.

Bacik concluded that Labour “are also now calling on the College to rescind the fine previously imposed on the Students’ Union”. The outcome of the fine is expected to be clarified later this week.