Trinity College fines student union €214,000 over protests

Trinity College Fines Student Union €214,000 Over Protests
A decision by students to blockade the famous Long Room library on the campus was cited as a reason for the fine. Photo: PA
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By Cillian Sherlock, PA

Trinity College Dublin has fined its student union more than €200,000 over protests on campus.

The university fined its undergraduate student union €214,285 after a series of demonstrations about fees and rent as well as pro-Palestinian solidarity protests.


The students’ decision to blockade access to a key tourist attraction on the campus was cited as one of the reasons for the fine.

Visitors were prevented from accessing the famous Long Room library during the protests, which also prevented tourists from viewing the Book of Kells, considered to be a national treasure.

Speaking to the PA news agency, the president of the students’ union accused senior management at the university of “an ill-fated attempt” to threaten and suppress its protest.



Laszlo Molnarfi said: “Our fight for Palestinian liberation and to make our university adopt the principles of boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) has seen us blockade and take disruptive action which is now being criminalised, essentially.”

The union was issued with an invoice for “partial losses” incurred as a “result of disruption to normal TCD operations”.


Five dates between September 13th and March 13th are listed on the invoice, with payment due on May 30th.

Mr Molnarfi compared the reaction of the university to ongoing protests in the US, where college security and police officers have clashed with students.

The student activist said he and others had been called for a disciplinary hearing with the junior dean.

Mr Molnarfi, who believes the university may escalate to threats of suspension or expulsion, accused Trinity College Dublin of caring “more about tourists than students”.


He said that students with unpaid fines may be prohibited from graduating.

In a statement, Trinity College said it is a not-for-profit organisation that cannot “survive solely on Government funding and depends on other sources of income”.

A spokeswoman said the income generated from the Book of Kells is “vital to keep the university going” and that it supports initiatives such as student services and the student hardship fund

“Any loss of income at the Book of Kells Experience directly affects our ability to deliver services for our students, not to mention our legal obligation to financially balance the books.


“The student protests involving blockades of the Book of Kells Experience has had a negative financial impact as visitors could not enter.

“Trinity has an obligation to protect the Book of Kells which is a national treasure.

“The university supports students’ right to protest within the rules of the university.”

Asked about a potential disciplinary hearing for student union officials, the spokeswoman said the college does not comment on individual students or their correspondence with the junior dean.

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