Tuesday 26 September 2017

Bringing students from the North back to Trinity can help build a shared future

Efforts are under way to open Trinity’s doors to more students from the North. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Efforts are under way to open Trinity’s doors to more students from the North. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

Earlier this year, at the inauguration of Northern Irish judge Donnell Deeny as Pro-Chancellor of Trinity College, I was gobsmacked to learn of the sharp decline in student numbers from the North at Trinity.

In 2012 there were only 85 entrants from the North out of a total of 3,755 first-years. On taking office in 2011 new provost Patrick Prendergast made recruitment from the North one of his priority issues. Trinity, since its foundation in 1592, was "a university for the whole of Ireland" and he wanted to return to that position.

In my Trinity college days, nearly a third of the students were from the North, greatly adding to the social religious and cultural mix of the college experience. For one thing, they always had money thanks to NI grants, while those of us from the Republic survived on parental support or part-time menial jobs.

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