Trinity students go to polls for seventh referendum this year

Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union are holding a referendum on whether to change their stance towards direct provision for asylum seekers.

The decision comes after a petition to hold the referendum, signed by 250 people, was presented to Trinity’s Electoral Committee.

The referendum, taking place today and tomorrow, is being held alongside a referendum to adopt a new constitution. This will bring the total number of referenda in the university this year to seven.

TCD SU Education Officer, Jack Leahy told The College View that the group who initiated the petition looked at the number of referenda held this year and felt they had an opportunity to push it through.

Direct Provision provides accommodation for asylum seekers but has been criticised for the length of time that some asylum seekers spend in the system.

Sue Conlan, Chief Executive of the Irish Refugee Council, said “many people who have been in accommodation for long periods have had four or five moves around the country. They can’t work or study beyond second-level.”

The referendum will propose that asylum seekers who haven’t had their applications processed for more than six months should have the right to work and that the government should join the EU Receptions Conditions Directive.

President of TCD SU, Tom Lenihan, said the number of referenda this year is a worry. “It’s a concern with so many referenda that there might be an overload.

“I don’t expect the referendum to cause a massive debate, it could be cut and dry,” he added.

A talk by the Irish Refugee Council on the impact of living in Direct Provision on mental and physical health will be held in DCU on April 2nd at 2pm.

Bryan Grogan

Image Credit: Viktorija Drozdova

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