Trinity affiliation with USI in question

By Suzanne Cooper

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) held a debate last week regarding the college’s affiliation with the Union of Students in Ireland.

Philosophical Society speaker David Byrne proposed the motion, “that this house would disaffiliate from the USI”. The motion was opposed by USI President Gary Redmond.

TCD’s decision to hold a referendum on the college’s affiliation with USI was decided upon by a majority vote.  In order to hold a referendum, a petition must be presented to the Students’ Union.

The petition has already begun circulation.

TCD would be following in the footsteps of colleges such as the University of Limerick and Dublin City University, who both voted against affiliation with USI in recent years.

The Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology also announced a proposal to hold a referendum on termination of their affiliation with the USI.

Trinity SU President Ryan Bartlett stated that a lack of student support for the Stop Fees campaign last year was one of the contributing factors to the decision to hold a referendum.

In an interview with ‘The University Times’, Bartlett stated, “I’m not convinced that the “Stop Fees, Save the Grant” campaign has represented Trinity students… This means that students have to ask whether or not they want to continue being represented by USI.”

One benefit of TCD disaffiliating with the USI will be the €111,000 that will be saved from not paying its membership fee.

TCD’s Students’ Union plan to fund national campaigns with the savings they will make through the proposed disaffiliation.

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