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Trinity College protests to cease after agreeing to student demands

Photo by Alfo Medeiros:

Photo by Element5 Digital.

Trinity College has pledged to cut ties with Israeli companies after a five day encampment by students on college grounds. Demonstrations by students forced the college to temporarily close access to the Book of Kells.

The encampment began on 3 May in response to Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, when pro-Palestinian protesters set up dozens of tents in Fellows’ Square, similar to actions in the US, Europe and India.

Unlike protests in the US, students in Trinity College were not subject to any physical action from authorities as the college did not attempt to forcibly remove them. In the UK, representatives from leading universities will meet this week to discuss antisemitic abuse on campuses.

The forced closure of the grounds to the public cost the college an estimated €350,000, as tourists were prevented from visiting the Book of Kells. Trinity College issued a fine of €250,000 to its student union earlier this week in response to these losses.

Following the success of the students’ protests, Trinity College will now divest funds from any Israeli companies it had business with. The college will also give places to six postgraduate and two undergraduate scholars from Gaza. A new taskforce with student and staff representatives is also set to review Trinity’s student exchanges with Israel.

The deal came amid international condemnation of the Israeli assault on Rafah and an RTE report that Ireland, Spain and other EU member states were considering recognising the state of Palestine on 21 May.

After the deal was reached, an emergency protest took place outside of the Dáil on Wednesday in response to Israel’s assault on Rafah.

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