Protest at Trinity College Dublin

Serious questions about TCD’s educational standards, rules and values

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – It is extraordinary that between 50 and 75 TCD students out of the approximate 19,000 attending the college, camping on a lawn, acting out and modelling Chinese manufactured keffiyehs, are being taken seriously. It also bizarre that they are permitted to indefinitely block the entrance to the Long Room and take the Book of Kells hostage. The fact that their sleep-out has resulted in TCD being closed to the general public is an indictment of both faculty and the college’s administration and raises serious questions about the college’s educational standards, rules and values.

The campers are demanding TCD boycott Israeli companies and cut all academic ties with Israel. This would include boycotting Wix, an Israeli software company which employs 500 staff in its Dublin base, ie it provides 500 jobs in Ireland. It seems the availability of jobs in Ireland is not perceived by the campers as being of any importance. On the academic side, TCD has partnerships with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan. Both universities represent a microcosm of Israeli society, teaching students from all religions and backgrounds, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze, Arab, etc. Contrary to the TCD student union’s ideological misinformation, these are fully integrated institutions of higher learning and not part of any fictional apartheid.

The partnerships involve TCD’s Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies and the School of Religion, Theology and Peace Studies.

In essence, the campers are farcically demanding that a department teaching about the complexities of the Middle East should end all contact with a university located in a state pivotal to events in the Middle East.


They are also demanding one concerned with theology and peace studies should cut its ties with a university located in the Holy Land, the location of direct relevance to much of its theological teaching, and to which peace studies and the achievement of peace has not only local but also global relevance.

TCD’s ties to Israel also include medical research projects relating to the use of mRNA-based nano-medicines in the treatment of heart disease and cancer and research concerning immune-sensing and signalling, all areas of research which promise improved health outcomes in the future for those in Ireland and elsewhere in need of diagnosis and treatment.

It is possible the outcome of this health research might in future decades save the life some of those now advocating its boycott. There is no doubt it will save the life of many others.

If TCD wishes to retain international credibility as a centre of higher educational excellence, as a graduate of TCD, I believe it should not surrender to the campers’ ideologically flawed and ill thought out demands nor do anything to afford them any credibility. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 16.

Sir, – As a taxpayer contributing to the funding of university fees for those attending Irish third level, I am bemused by the student protests taking place in Trinity College Dublin and in particular by the statements made by pro-Palestinian academics and students. All that education and not one of them seems to understand the definition of the word genocide, and they also seem to lack the ability to say the words hostages, terrorist, mass rape, human shields or to engage in reasoned and nuanced debate using analytical skills to see past a selectively outraged overly simplistic interpretation of one of the most complex geopolitical situations in modern history. I would like my money back, please. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 5.