Thursday 19 April 2018

Trinity students occupy Dining Hall as protest against exam charge escalates

Students inside the Dining Hall at Trinity College this evening
Students inside the Dining Hall at Trinity College this evening

Sean Nolan

Around 50 Trinity College students are occupying the Dining Hall on campus this evening as the protests over exam resit fees escalates.

For a number of days now students have been protesting at the introduction of a €450 charge to resit exams.

On Tuesday a number of students occupied the Dining Hall, following similar protests earlier which had blocked access to the Book of Kells and which had also blockaded entrances to the College.

This afternoon, a group of students alleged that around 60 of them were locked into the Dining Hall and that 'external security services' had blocked all entrances to the building.

However, Trinity College have denied that they have locked in the students and speaking to Independent.ie this evening, one of the students inside the Dining Hall, Mary Hatnett, confirmed that they were not locked in and that they could leave at any time, but they would not be permitted to return.

On Twitter, the College said: "It is untrue that students are locked into the Dining Hall. They can leave at any time they want, and the College is taking all steps to ensure the safety of students inside.

Students in Trinity College Dublin protesting over the implementation of Supplemental Fees at a flat rate of €450 outside the Dining Hall on Tuesday. Photo Gareth Chaney Collins
Students in Trinity College Dublin protesting over the implementation of Supplemental Fees at a flat rate of €450 outside the Dining Hall on Tuesday. Photo Gareth Chaney Collins

A second tweet from the College said: "As large numbers of non-students had been invited into the building through an open call, and this would result in risks for everyone concerned no one else is being given access to the building."

Ms Hartnett said that there had been some non students attending the protest earlier but all those currently in the Dining Hall were Trinity students.

Ms Hartnett also confirmed that access to a bathroom for those in the Dining Hall been restored.

"We can't bring food in or out so we have a limited supply of food and water but we plan to stay tonight," she said.

Students in the College's Exam Hall this evening
Students in the College's Exam Hall this evening

Students supporting in campaign gathered on the steps of the Dining Hall today before moving to other parts of the city centre campus.

More students have also occupied the College's Exam Hall this evening.

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