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Campus protest: Trinity College Dublin fines student union €214,000

Image source, @TCDSU_President

Screenshot, Students have blocked the Book of Kells tourist experience in Dublin

One of Ireland’s leading universities has fined its students union €214,000 (£183,000) for holding protests on campus, including pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) cited a loss of income as a result of the recent blockages of the Book of Kells tourist attraction.

Students have demonstrated against the university’s response to the war in Gaza, as well as proposed increases in course fees and increased accommodation costs.

UB president László Molnárfi told RTÉ that students and staff “are united against the leadership’s suppression of the student voice that has protested for Palestine, for the rights of graduate workers and against fees and rising rents.

Screenshot, Trinity College Dublin imposed the fine on Thursday

Students have also occupied UK university campuses in protest against the conflict in Gaza and pro-Palestinian protesters in cities including London, Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds have set up tents outside university buildings.

On X, formerly Twitter, Mick Barry TD said the fine represents a “serious attack on the right to protest”.

He added that it is “quite possibly a warning to students not to emulate pro-Palestinian college camps in the United States.”

Screenshot, TCD says protests have had a “negative financial impact” on the university

The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript that is more than 1,200 years old. It is considered one of the greatest treasures of Celtic art.

In a statement, TCD said it is a nonprofit organization that “cannot survive solely on government funding and is dependent on other sources of income.”

The student blockades have had “a negative financial impact,” according to the university.

“Revenue generated by the Book of Kells is vital to keeping the university going and supports initiatives such as student services, student hardship fund etc,” a TCD spokesperson said.

The college added that it “supports students’ right to protest within university rules.”

‘Shameful act’

The current and incoming students’ union leadership has also been summoned to a disciplinary hearing next week.

TCD SU president László Molnárfi called the fine “an absolutely disgraceful act of union busting” by the university.

According to Trinity News, the fine is equivalent to approximately 20% of the Students’ Union’s total annual income.

The union has until May 30 to pay the bill.