Trinity fines student union €214,000 for blocking Book of Kells

The threat comes after a series of blockades at the popular tourist spot, which have caused a drop in university ticket sales.

The students want the university to promise not to increase one-year master’s fees and instead introduce a €2 increase in the price of Book of Kells tickets to pay for the university’s operations, which they believe will will generate 1 million euros in income.

The organization received an email this morning informing it of the fine, reports the school’s student newspaper. Trinity News has reported.

Trinity College relies heavily on income generated from tourists visiting the Book of Kells.

Tickets to visit the Book of Kells cost €18.50. In 2022, the exhibition, together with income from the Old Library shop and guided tours, generated €16.7 million.

On 28 April, students’ union officials wrote to Trinity’s chancellor threatening “actions which seriously damage the reputation and finances of the university”.

Instead of bowing to the students’ demands, the next day Aidan Marsh wrote an email to student union officials on behalf of the junior dean.

Marsh said he wanted to “warn” students that “any such action may amount to disciplinary offenses which would result in the institution of disciplinary proceedings against the individuals involved.”

He said: “If this happens, your letter can be used as evidence.”

Marsh warned student union leaders that they could face huge compensation costs, which student union officials have since estimated at €100,000 or more, based on daily ticket sales for the Book of Kells.

Marsh also warned students that sanctions “for a serious violation” may include “disqualification from an exam,” suspension of “housing privileges,” and “suspension from the university and college.”

The email warned that, to “clear doubts,” the financial sanctions will become “a debt to the university” that must be paid if the student wishes to graduate.

In response, student union president László Molnárfi sharply criticized Trinity College officials and said the college has now “abandoned its claim to be a progressive college.”

Molnárfi said the email represents an “unfortunate attempt” to “intimidate and repress the student movement and we will not tolerate it.”

He said that “the university seems to think that we are stripped of our constitutional rights once we walk through the university doors; we will defend our right to protest.”

Meanwhile, in a letter dated May 2, the junior dean invited the students’ union leaders to meet in his office. Molnárfi has indicated that he is willing to attend this meeting with other leaders of the student union.

When contacted about the email, a spokesperson for Trinity College Dublin said: “We do not comment on individual cases or correspondence between the junior dean and students.”