Judging by this recent RTE report, USI’s recent housing protest was impressive in terms of quantity, if not quality. As the crowds that gathered at Trinity’s Dining Hall Steps, where they were addressed by student union leaders and senior academics, were probably the biggest that have ever assembled there, we must take our hats off to USI’s mobilisation units. And to some of the ordinary decent students, who clearly explained their unenviable plights.
But that is where the praise ends. Have a look at USI’s President with her they/them badge? What example is she setting with that grandstanding? What potential landlord would offer her a room in preference to some Pole, who is confident about his sexuality and who has not got a vapid sense of entitlement? But potential landlords are not they/them’s target; the more ephemeral government, that has many other things on its plate and that will not even put a dent into this problem in the short term, is.
Check out the Facebook postings of TCDSU, who put more emphasis on students having access to hard core porn than to finding a roof over their heads. What potential landlord would offer such freaks a room in preference to some mature minded Pole, who is not obsessed with rape porn and who knows life does not owe him a living? What is wrong with TCDSU’s leaders that they cannot address student housing and the other critical issues their charges face? What is their true agenda?
USI’s policy, like TCDSU’s policy, like that of Maynooth Secular Seminary’s Rory Hearne, is that the taxpayer owes students a living, that the government should somehow immediately solve this student housing crisis by pulling the required number of housing units out of its collective ass and that no other pet stakeholders, refugees, junkies and the like, should suffer as a consequence. But, as the real world does not work that way, the above loud mouths are no part of solving this problem for the students, who are today being affected.
So, here are some possible solutions. First off, beginning with Rory Hearne, publish a list of all College staff and say which of them are housing students and which ones are not. If College staff will not step up to the plate, why should anyone else?
Next, build modular student housing on Trinity’s College Park, its car parks and other prime locations. If it is good enough for Ukrainian economic immigrants in Kildare and Cork, it should be good enough for students. If Trinity and other Colleges are not prepared to row in, then they should keep quiet.
Next, ask Rory Hearne, TCDSU and USI if Irish students should be housed in preference to economic migrants posing as refugees and Fr McVerry’s lot. As McVerry’s Trust hires 500 people and, as per recent media reports, many of his units seem to be heroin shooting galleries, there is obvious slack there.
Now, if those vested interests declare that Ukrainians economic migrants should be preferenced over our own students, fair enough, the students can stay at the back of the line, right behind all those Somalians who are housed in Marlboro St and Eden Quay. If Dublin based students should be preferenced, then those others, who have no cause to be in Dublin, could be temporarily shipped off to Estonia, Rwanda or Latvia, at our expense of course.
One other approach is to again approach house owners who have spare capacity but to do so in a mature way, not as if USI, with their idiotic pronoun fetishes, are Allied forces dictating surrender terms to the Wehrmacht. That would entail the College authorities scrapping their lopsided, unrealistic tenancy agreements and helping interested students to negotiate securing rooms one at a time.
To score a room, those students would have to realise that they would have to be acceptable to house owners, who not only dislike USI eejits who literally display their preferred pronouns on their sleeves but also all who support them and, with regard to UCD students, who feel that impeaching Katie Ascough was much more important than securing students satisfactory accommodation. Put bluntly, most house owners do not want such people, no matter how high the rent is.
Students have to come into the real world. They are not, as some of them assert, at the heart of university life. Research is at the centre of university life and securing research funding is the life blood of universities. The lion’s share of that life blood, as any of their economics lecturers can explain, comes from alumni and from securing research grants, not from students, who are a not unimportant burden universities have to bear.
There is no denying that students are in a pickle and one that is seemingly getting worse by the day. This report that the refugee industry is sending its own human meal tickets down to the GPO to score food is a symptom of worst times to come as energy and food bills kick in.
But the question is how to solve it for today’s crop of students as well as tomorrow’s. No matter what Rory Hearne or any of Maynooth Secular Seminary’s other high priests may prattle, this problem can only be tackled by following my suggestions, not theirs.
Today’s crop of third level students have been dealt a raw hand by Covid’s High Priests, eejits like Luke O’Neil, who did well out of it. Ireland has no need of any more such secular hocus pocus. Trinity’s students deserve better than having to make daily commutes to Dublin from Monaghan and Roscommon. And they certainly deserve better than being the expendable pawns of Rory Hearne and the USI/People Before Profit/Sinn Féin clowns who organised that recent walk out and self-serving photo-shoot.