University of Limerick students ‘undeterred’ in direct provision campaign

Jess Casey

Reporter:

Jess Casey

A student-led campaign at the University of Limerick could see boycotts of cafes and restaurants

A student-led campaign at the University of Limerick could see boycotts of cafes and restaurants

UNIVERSITY of Limerick students are “undeterred” from their campaign to end the university’s connection with a direct provision service provider after it distributed leaflets on campus defending its services.

A student-led campaign at the university could see boycotts of seven oncampus cafes and restaurants run by multinational service provider Aramark, which provides services to three direct provision centres, including Knockalisheen on the Limerick Clare border. 

Last week, leaflets were distributed on campus stating that Aramark has “no say, influence or involvement in the establishment of this system or in the residency or asylum application process.” 

But UL Student Life welfare officer Lorcan O’Donnell said: “It hasn’t deterred students at all; in fact it's made us more determined”.

The flyers also state that Aramark provides a quality service which helps to make the lives of residents “more comfortable.”

“We know that we have students coming in to us who are living in direct provision that would very much testify against that,” Mr O’Donnell said. 

A recent case in Knockalisheen saw a resident denied bread and milk for her sick child, he added. 

The company later acknowledged responsibility for the incident and stated it will apologise to the resident in question. 

Student newspaper An Focal has carried an open letter from news editor Nicole Glennon urging UL president Dr Des Fitzgerald to support the students’ campaign.

Student Life has also met with Dr Fitzgerald to outline their concerns with the university’s contract with Aramark, Mr O’Donnell added. 

“We’re going to be running an awareness campaign over the next few weeks,” Mr O’Donnell said. 

“It is going to be a campus wide campaign, giving people the facts and letting them come to their own conclusions.” 

The campaign could lead to boycotts, should the student decide, he added.

“We at Student Life will be completely behind whatever students want to do.”