Statement on TU Dublin SU Meeting with An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar

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Pictured from left to right; Michelle Byne (Deputy President & VP Campaigns, USI), Luke Daly (Deputy President for Blanchardstown Campus, TU Dublin SU), Leo Varadkar (An Taoiseach), Pierre Yimbog (President, TU Dublin SU), Hayley Keogh (VP Welfare & Equality for Blanchardstown Campus, TU Dublin SU,)

Officers from Technological University Dublin Students’ Union, and The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) met with An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar in the Department of An Taoiseach to discuss a number of matters concerning students, including LGBTQ+ Rights, Student Accommodation, Investment in Third Level Education, Climate Action and much more. 

TU Dublin Students’ Union acknowledges and appreciates the time allocated by An Taoiseach to listen to the concerns and issues affecting students of not only TU Dublin, but across the island of Ireland. Brexit played a large part of the discussion and how it would affect students upon the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.  

However, TU Dublin Students’ Union would have grave concerns over the lack of knowledge held by the Department of An Taoiseach around student issues, LGBTQ+ Rights and Climate Action. While TU Dublin Students’ Union appreciates the time given to listen intently to these issues, it was clear that no commitments would be made on any of these issues as well as  demonstrating a chronic lack of understanding of what is happening to students on the ground. 

Pierre Yimbog, President of TU Dublin SU is extremely disappointed by An Taoiseach and lack of awareness of the financial burden placed on students to go to college. “The lack of investment put into third level education by this Government in the recent budget and the lack of action taken based on the recommendations of the Cassells report is disgraceful. The comments made by An Taoiseach show his ignorance of the struggles students go through trying to make it to college with the high cost of living, exuberant accommodation prices and lack of investment in SUSI.”   

In addition, TU Dublin Students’ Union are concerned over certain comments made by An Taoiseach around Hate Crime Legislation, LGBTQ+ Healthcare/Education, Climate Action and Investment into Third Level Education/Accommodation. The comments made are a reflection of a Government Minister with a highly privileged background that demonstrates a glaringly obvious lack of understanding and out of touch perception around issues that students face under this Government. 

Luke Daly, Deputy President, TU Dublin SU Blanchardstown Campus, absolutely condemns negative comments made around HIV diagnosis, Hate Crime Legislation and Climate Change Denial, stating that “this is an attack not only on students , but a dangerous attack on the community from which the Taoiseach inadvertently represents as one of the most influential LGBTQ+ figures in the world of politics”.

TU Dublin Students’ Union are appalled at An Taoiseach’s rejection of the urgency of  Climate Action, with the indication that if Climate Action demands funding, then the Government would threaten to move funding from healthcare, public infrastructure and education. When questioned regarding looking to the European Union counterparts for best practice, it was alluded to that nuclear energy is the only way to go and that wouldn’t be happening under this Government despite climate activists, many of them students leading the movement and proposing real, actionable solutions. This statement comes after the news that Ireland has exceeded its emissions target by 5 million tons. 

TU Dublin Students’ Union would appeal to all of our members, and to the students across the island of Ireland to engage with their local representatives to voice concern over the lack of commitment made to students, society and the planet. Students are urged to engage with the #BreakTheBarriers national campaign facilitated by USI. 

For further comment please contact the following:

Pierre Yimbog, President, TU Dublin Students’ Union – president@tudublinsu.ie / 0831930223

Luke Daly, Deputy President for Blanchardstown Campus, TU Dublin Students’ Union – deputy.bc@tudublinsu.ie / 01 885 1101 / 08941448399

Aoife Duff, USI Public Relations Executive – pr@usi.ie / 01 905 2100 / 083 881 2270

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