By Aisling Kett
UCD Students’ Union are €1 million in debt, forcing the union to make cuts of 40% across the board.
This debt has also forced the union to make redundant two employees in the Copy Bureau, a photocopying service for UCD students.
UCD SU President, Pat de Brún, released an open letter detailing the debt issue and the decision to close the bureau following a protest at the closure on January 25th.
Roughly 300 people attended the protest during which both de Brún and Campaigns and Communications Officer, Brendan Lace, were pulled from their respective offices to speak to the crowd.
An anonymous employee from the Student Centre said the protest was “more like a riot” with students yelling and swearing.
Two weeks prior to the protest a motion was put to the Union Council to rehire the two Copy Bureau employees. The motion was defeated by a vast majority.
The open letter was sent out on January 27th as de Brún “felt it was necessary to engage a bit more directly with students on the ground about the current financial situation”.
The letter states that closing the Copy Bureau was a “complete last resort due to the unsustainable losses it was making”.
According to an independent accountant’s report the bureau was making losses of on average €30,000-40,000 per annum in the past few years.
The letter also outlined the SU’s plans to reduce their debt. These plans include the 40% cuts in each SU budget, introducing a new constitution and forming a private limited company.
The formation of a company means that the SU will have legal and financial obligations. The union are also applying for a bank loan to repay the debt.
The amount of debt accumulated by the SU became clear after de Brún “undertook a comprehensive investigation of the union accounts, with the support of the Union Executive” on taking office last year.
After the investigation “it has become clear that we [UCD SU] are in significant debt, and that our services are operating at a significant loss.”
The SU has ruled out approaching the university for financial support, an idea suggested at the protest.
The SU stated that it was an independent union which works for the rights of UCD students “without restraint”. De Brún said that even if the university were to supply support, “the cutbacks would have to occur”.