DCU forced to pay off clubs and societies debt

DCU has had to pay back monies owed to the bank by several clubs and societies The College View has learned.

The Clubs and Societies Office of the Students’ Union had to take these measures as several society accounts were left in arrears and the university was transferring them from AIB to Bank of Ireland.

“There were a good few accounts that were overdrawn,” says Siobhan Byrne, the Finance Officer for the DCU Clubs and Societies Office. “The accounts were overdrawn by anything from a few cents to around €80.”

Byrne believes that the bulk of these overdrafts were accrued due to bank fees and charges rather than mismanagement. The Clubs and Societies Office is using this transfer as an opportunity to clean up dormant and unneeded accounts in order to allow for a more efficient system.

The transfer of these accounts has caught several societies by surprise. Some society representatives reported being informed of the switch by AIB staff when they visited the branch in Santry.

Two accounts from dormant clubs were found to have contained a surplus of funds. This money was acquired by the university and moved back into the central funding pool.

Meanwhile, the Clubs and Societies Office is still trying to transfer all bank accounts from AIB to Bank of Ireland. The university has found this difficult due to the fact that it has to transfer signatory power from former society representatives back to the university.

“This has been an ongoing process since the university signed the agreement with Bank of Ireland,” says Byrne. “We have worked closely with AIB to come up with a system that allows us to regain control of society accounts.”

Byrne estimates that around 90 per cent of the accounts have been successfully transferred. The process began in 2013 when Bank of Ireland replaced long-standing tenant AIB as DCU’s on campus bank.

It is understood that the Clubs and Societies Office wishes for all bank accounts relating to student run organisations to be based with the Bank of Ireland branch located on campus. They claim that this has nothing to do with any agreement between the bank and DCU but is a matter of convenience.

“Money in these accounts is still university money,” says Byrne. “It is important that the college can exercise some degree of control over how it is managed.”

John Casey

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