Activist group Cut the Rent, set up to build support for the idea of rent strikes on campus, will not launch a rent strike in January, the group announced at a meeting tonight.
The group, which secured the backing of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) last week, will not press ahead with rent strikes amid concerns of insufficient support among campus residents.
At a sparsely attended meeting in the Arts Block tonight, the group’s decision makers discussed instead the idea of canvassing for a rent strike in Trinity Hall in 2021, and the possibility of running a candidate for the JCR on a rent strikes platform.
The idea of canvassing in Halls was discussed by the group earlier in the year, but was abandoned after TCDSU’s council voted to reject a motion that was brought before it, which would have seen the union mandated to support striking students.
The group revised its original motion and brought it to the third meeting of council, where it was passed by a large majority.
Speaking to The University Times tonight, Michael McGrath, a founding member of the group, said: “We’ve decided not to go ahead with the rent strike because we have only a very small number of engaged tenants who were willing to go ahead with it.”
“We don’t think it’s fair to put them in that position unless there is a sustained mass behind them”, he said.
“Despite this, we’re really happy with what we’ve achieved so far. We’ve built a platform. Cut the Rent isn’t over now. It’s not over for this term either. What we’re going to do is refocus our energies on a few things in the new year, and all the while building for a bigger mass rent strike next year.”
“The problems haven’t been solved”, McGrath added, “and they’re likely to keep growing rather than improving, so we remain committed to our initial goal of cutting the rent”.
Tonight, in response to a question about whether the group had ever presented College with a formal list of demands, McGrath said the group had not.
The change of tack comes despite a recent decision by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) to support students participating in rent strikes.
At USI’s national council, held in Trinity, student leaders from all over the country decided to support students participating in the action after a debate that saw many exploring what a rent strike would look like.
The group has received national media attention, with the Sunday Times and the Independent both covering its exploits.
Earlier this month, members of the group taped a mock eviction notice to the Provost’s House and the Accommodation Office.
Around 40 protestors met at the Campanile before walking to the Accommodation Office in Front Square, where they taped a poster to the door detailing their demands.
The group then moved to the Provost’s House on Grafton St, where they posted the same notice.