Meanwhile, In Limerick


From top: University of Limerick; Aramark logo; students protesting at UL

This morning.

On RTÉ One’s Today with Seán O’Rourke.

Journalist Brian O’Connell reported on a campaign by some students at the University of Limerick calling on others to boycott the catering services of Aramark on the college’s campus.

Aramark is a food and facilities management firm and provides services at three of Ireland’s 32 direct provision centres.

Similar campaigns have been taking place in University College Dublin and  Trinity College Dublin.

University of Limerick is what’s known as a “sanctuary” university as it provides places to 23 students who live in direct provision centres free of charge.

Ciara ‘Jo’ Hanlon, student president in UL, told Mr O’Connell:

“We’ve written to the president of the university Des Fitzgerald. And we have a meeting set up where we will go and discuss with him direct provision and the Aramark contract.

“And we’re going to start trying to do boycotts around campus, just to highlight Aramark’s involvement in these direct provision centres across the country.”

Mr O’Connell asked Ms Hanlon about a leaflet which Aramark recently handed out to students in UL – in which Aramark defended its involvement in direct provision.

Mr O’Connell explained that the leaflet states direct provision is Government policy and Aramark has no say in the establishment of the system or the asylum application process.

Ms Hanlon responded:

“As it is said on paper, this seems like a perfect argument and I’ve been made aware that the same sheet of paper, these same facts, have been released to Trinity.

“So it’s true to say that Aramark do profit from students but it’s not to say that they’re immune from scrutiny. Of course students go and look at other aspects of their business and one of those being that they’re profiting from these direct provision centres.

“And we, as I said, we have 23 students, sanctuary students, who live in these direct provision centres, here on UL campus.

“The primary aim would be if Aramark would reverse its policy or, if not, to remove them off our campus.

“Now, as I say, I’ve brought this to the attention of Des Fitzgerald. We’ve yet to have a meeting with him. I do think once we start raising awareness, we will garner an awful lot of support around the campus.”

“I’d love if Aramark actually came to the university and sat down with some of our sanctuary students and talked to them about their own personal experiences of direct provision.

“As I said, it looks very good on paper but when you hear these stories coming from people who are living in these centres, it’s completely different.”

University of Limerick students ‘undeterred’ in direct provision campaign (Jess Casey, Limerick Leader)

Listen back here in full

28 thoughts on “Meanwhile, In Limerick

  1. Matt Fitzpatrick

    I really don’t see what the point of the boycott is. Have they asked the students in direct provision how they feel about Aramark?

    1. Ian-O

      From above if you read it:

      “I’d love if Aramark actually came to the university and sat down with some of our sanctuary students and talked to them about their own personal experiences of direct provision.”

      So unless they are just guessing, I am thinking that the students in question have something to say about the whole thing.

      As to what a boycott can do, I worked in a large multinational and they used Aramark to run their canteen. To call the stuff they serve ‘food’ was a stretch in my opinion and I am no gourmet, but I can only imagine the slop that is dished out at DP centres is far inferior.

      So yeah, a boycott can have a purpose.

    2. Ger Mc

      All for students protesting but don’t really get why they are picking a company which provides food to people in direct provision? Am I missing something here?

  2. max

    Student A: Hey guys lets go protest about this direct provision thingy, i see its trending on Facebook.
    Student B: Shall we go protest outside the Dail?
    Student A: Neh… How about the Canteen?

  3. Giggidygoo

    I don’t know what i’m missing here. If Aramark are awarded a contract by the Government, and are awarded another separate contract in UL what are the students complaining about? Aramark are a business. If the students succeeded then what about the next one that gets the DP contract? Do they get the same treatment by another group? Do we end up then with no supplier in the DP centers?

    1. phil

      @Giggidygoo, Think of it like this, its a new wave of protest , no point howling at the government, nothing will change, however, if you hurt a private business in the pocket, the businessmen, FG favorite type of ppl, will pick up the phone and ring the minister asking him to sort it out, its hurting my business…

      IMO its a reasonable move….

    1. Nigel

      I don’t think there are issues with the provision of electricity at DP centres that I’m aware of. I realise I’m being humourless, but everyone seems to be going out of their way to pretend this isn’t actually a good way of protesting, since the connection is conveniently right there on their campus every day, since they can raise awareness and potentially threaten their bottom line if the boycott takes off across other campuses with the same caterer.

  4. Rob_G

    I look forward to the students writing their essays by hand in candlelight when they boycott ESB networks for supplying electricity to DP centres.

  5. rotide

    I see I’m too late to pour scorn on this nonsense.

    Of all the things they could be protesting about DP. Christ on a bike.

  6. Ollie Cromwell

    Shouldn’t this read ” ranked 618th in the world University of Limerick ” ?
    Asking for a friend,the remaining Chuckle Brother.

    1. Nigel

      You can tell some Brexiteer just said something stupid about Ireland or the UK or Europe because here comes ‘My nationalism manifests as raging insecurity’ with his desperate need to validate the UK’s superiority over a country that doesn’t even have half the population of London.

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