The Gaza protest encampment at University College Dublin, May 2024 (Kathy Rose O’Brien)

University College Dublin has joined Trinity College Dublin in reaching an agreement with students protesting Israel’s mass killing in Gaza.

The protesters’ encampment is being dismantled in return for a series of steps supporting Palestinian students and reviewing the university’s links with Israel.

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UCD President Orla Feely issued a statement:

We are outraged by the ongoing mass killing of civilians, the withholding of humanitarian aid, and the destruction in Palestine by Israel.

As a member of the global university community with an enduring commitment to academic freedom, expression and safety, UCD is particularly appalled by the destruction of all universities in Gaza and attacks on their students, faculty and staff.

UCD noted the rulings of the International Court of Justice “to prevent the violation of international laws in Palestine”, and May’s recognition of the state of Palestine by Ireland, alongside Norway and Spain.

The university agreed to establish up to eight sanctuary scholarships for displaced Palestinians and to support up to four scholars from Palestinian universities.

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A working group will develop a policy on ethical investment by June 2025, and students join a group reviewing the policy on sustainable procurement. The Bursar will report annually on the location of all university investments, and the list of research grants will include all international partners.

Last month, Trinity College Dublin reached a settlement with protesters whose encampment blocked access to one of the world’s premier heritage exhibitions, The Book of Kells, in the heart of the Irish capital.

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From Confrontation to Resolution

After the establishment of the encampment on May 11, UCD said it had no financial ties with Israeli institutions. However representatives from the Students’ Union, the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions group, and UCD Academics for Palestine maintained the site while pursuing talks with the administration.

With an annual UCD Festival scheduled for June 8, administrators were facing a public gathering in which one of the campus venues would be beside the encampment. The event was postponed for “operational reasons” against the backdrop of students occupying a university building and being removed by staff.

According to the University Observer, one of the Festival’s main sponsors is Intel, which is on the boycott list of the BDS movement.

On Saturday, the date of the Festival, the agreement was announced.

Student Union President Martha Ní Riada tweeted: