Edmund Heaphy | Deputy Editor
Provost Patrick Prendergast has tweeted his annoyance at referendum posters which feature both an image of a student in front of Trinity’s Front Gate and text reminding voters of their “Equal Right to Vote No”.
In a tweet this evening, the Provost said: “Trinity’s gates are open to all! Annoyed by picture of the Front Gate for a NO poster”.
The posters, which are attributed to the “Irish Council for Liberty”, an unknown group with no online presence, have appeared across Dublin in recent weeks. The poster shows an image of what appears to be a Trinity student standing, with a thumbs up, in front of Trinity’s historic Front Gate, and says: “Remember… Your Equal Right to Vote No”, and a checkbox next to the text “No shame in it!”
— Patrick Prendergast (@pjprendergast) May 11, 2015
Speaking to Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union’s council in January, the Provost previously expressed his personal support for a yes vote, and has been seen wearing Yes Equality badges around campus.
Officially, however, Trinity College Dublin has taken a neutral stance in the referendum, saying that they felt it was important to “be respectful of the full range of views of the College community by not adopting a particular stance on the issue.” At the same council, the Provost also had said that he felt it inappropriate for Trinity to fly a rainbow flag in the run up to the referendum, for this reason.
In March, The University Times revealed that the College Board had removed all mention of advocating for a yes vote from a statement written by the College’s Equality Committee. The committee had proposed to actively support a yes vote, agreeing that it was appropriate for them to adopt a “strong, affirmative stance in support of equal marriage rights for all, regardless of their sexuality or the gender of their partner”.
The statement issued to Board as part of the minutes of the meeting was edited to reflect the College’s established neutral position, however.
Prior to that, the Board had previously decided not to adopt a corporate position on the subject, citing the principles of “academic freedom and the promotion of debate”.
Instead, College had vowed to “actively support any initiatives within College aimed at raising awareness of the referendum”. Last month, however, a public forum organised on the referendum was cancelled in the interests of balance. The University Times understands that speakers became unavailable on the day of the forum. Instead, Trinity will host a public forum on May 19th, three days before the referendum.
Photo via Broadsheet.ie