Where’s my Levy? Maynooth students protest as the construction of their Student Union building is terminated

Louise Hickey

The project to build a new Student Union (SU) building due to be complete by July 2023 was funded through an annual student levy of €150 since 2015.

Students organised a ‘walkout’ of lectures which took place on Monday at 11:11 AM in protest of this announcement. Over 1,000 students, alumni and staff attended. 

The University announced that the halt in construction came from rising costs. A spokesperson said that the build has already exceeded over 50% of the original price.

In a statement, they said “in the weeks and months ahead, the university will be providing significant additional social spaces, meeting pods and seating, furniture and other infrastructure in buildings across Maynooth University campus.

Students of Maynooth University think there should have been more communication with students. 

One final-year student, Abigail Carry told the College View “a lot of students are mostly just wondering where the money is going because there has been no mention that we’ll even be getting it back… it’s unfair that students who are mostly working minimum wage paid jobs are expected to just be able to pay this levy which at the end of it all doesn’t contribute to them”. 

The SU has “condemned” this decision and has begun a petition to the Minister for Further Education, Simon Harris TD. The petition demands that Maynooth University publicly states its commitment to delivering a Student Centre.

The SU also calls for the levy to be frozen, with no increases to the charge for a period of at least 5 years and that the University must be transparent in its communication as to how the student levy is being used. 

The SU is concerned about how the university portrayed the history of the levy in recent media. 

A statement from the SU following the protest wrote “the University’s claim that the levy was not contingent upon a Student Centre project is disingenuous and misleading. The University gave several guarantees as to what would be funded by the levy in order that MSU would be able to support the recommendation of a levy to the student body-one of which was a new Student Centre”.