UCD student ends climate hunger strike after eight days as demands met 

UCD student ends climate hunger strike after eight days as demands met 

A Dublin university student has ended his hunger strike over climate inaction after eight days, following an agreement on his demands.

Ronan Browne, who is part of a climate activist group Mobilise Peace, called for all students and staff at his university to participate in increasingly frequent protests until their demands were met.

Mr Browne, who studies design thinking for sustainability at University College Dublin, said he would “fast until death if necessary” to bring attention to his calls for holding a university assembly on climate action and a campus-wide referendum on enacting “peaceful civil disobedience” to “bring the economy to a halt” and tackle climate change more effectively.

Mr Browne ended his hunger strike on Wednesday night after “he got the go-ahead basically for what he wanted”, according to fellow Mobilise Peace activist Sinead Jackson.

The group said the students’ union would organise a town hall early next year to precede a student referendum in March.

“After the hunger strike, I think this has created a conversation in the university for students and staff of what we should do now,” a spokesperson for the group said.

Meeting with politicians

The group will meet with politicians in the coming weeks to gather support for similar moves at other universities.

Mr Browne previously said the university was “heavily complicit” in the climate emergency through its support of a “fundamentally degenerative” economic system and suggested “the entire 32,000-odd student population” must act to bring about more action on climate change.

The group’s spokesperson said university management had not engaged with them on the matter to date. The university has not responded to requests for comment.

A spokesperson from the students’ union was unavailable for comment on Friday, but previously said the union was “extremely worried about Mr Browne’s welfare”.

Earlier this week, People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith raised the matter with Environment Minister Eamon Ryan, asking him to make contact or visit Mr Browne.

“Young people are really in a desperate panic about what’s happening to the planet and to their future,” she said. 

Ms Smith urged Mr Ryan to persuade Mr Browne to “fight back against the system but not take any chances with his own health and his own life”.

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