Trinity College Dublin vows to pull investments in Israeli companies on UN ‘blacklist’

Taskforce to explore engagement with institutions in Israel to be set up following student protests

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has vowed to pull its investments in Israeli companies that feature on a United Nations “blacklist” while a taskforce to explore engagement with Israeli institutions is to be set up following a fourth day of student protests on the campus.

Students erected an encampment on Fellow’s Square on Friday night in protest against the university’s links to Israel, including investments, saying it would remain in place “indefinitely” until their demands are met.

Freedom of Information records seen by The Irish Times show the university’s endowment fund has invested in 13 Israeli companies, three of which feature on a United Nations Human Rights Council list of companies involved in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The university has said individual companies are not “handpicked” by it, but rather chosen for its portfolio by investment managers.

Soon after the encampment was erected on Friday, the university restricted access to students and staff with valid college ID cards only to ensure student safety, while the Book of Kells exhibition, libraries and the sports centre have been closed until further notice.


TCD management met student representatives on Monday to discuss the issues raised by protesters in an effort to facilitate the return to normal university services for all staff, students and the public.

“In view of the disproportionate response we have seen at some institutions overseas, Trinity is committed to addressing the issue of the encampment as an internal process,” the university said in a statement issued on Monday evening. “We wish for a return to normal services for our students, staff, and the public as soon as possible.”

Following the talks, TCD said the process of divesting from investing in companies featured on the UN blacklist is expected to be completed by June.

Students have been calling for the university to cut all ties with Israel, including investments in the other 10 Israeli companies. They have also called on TCD to make “an unequivocal statement of solidarity condemning the ongoing genocide, destruction of infrastructure, settler-colonialism, apartheid and occupation of Palestine”.

The group has also called on TCD to commit to “reparations” which would fully support 100 Palestinian scholars to undertake their studies at the university.

“We fully understand the driving force behind the encampment on our campus and we are in solidarity with the students in our horror at what is happening in Gaza,” the TCD statement went on. “We abhor and condemn all violence and war, including the atrocities of October 7th and the continuing ferocious and disproportionate onslaught in Gaza. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the dehumanisation of its people is obscene.”

Alongside a pledge to divest from investing in some companies, the university said it has identified eight places for Gazan scholars to study at TCD.

“All fees have been waived for these scholars and Trinity will use its Sanctuary Fund to provide accommodation,” the university said.

The university said it would continue to work with stakeholders to provide further places.

Separately, the university said it is setting up a taskforce, which will include student representatives, to discuss how it can continue to preserve academic freedom while understanding better how to engage – “or not” – with states deemed to be in contravention of human rights. The taskforce will have an external chair and will allow for “conflicting perspectives” to be explored in a formal setting, the university said.

“Academic freedom is the cornerstone of our identity, and we value it hugely. Some in our community argue that Trinity should ensure all ties with Israeli institutions are cut. Such decisions rest with individual academics. Some colleagues will see value in maintaining a free exchange of ideas; others will feel deeply uncomfortable having any relationship at all,” the statement said

“We hope that today’s meeting and our firm commitment to implement the series of measures outlined above will lead to a resolution. A further meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow.”

Jack White

Jack White

Jack White is a reporter for The Irish Times