The students of Trinity College Dublin have voted in favour of their Students’ Union remaining affiliated with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
Students were asked to vote ‘Yes’ if they were in favour of disaffiliation or ‘No’ if in favour of remaining affiliated. The result declared on Thursday saw ‘No’ receive 1,496 (61.5%) votes, while ‘Yes’ received 829 (34.1%) votes. The “Yes” side won by a margin of 667 votes. In total, 2,431 votes were cast with 106 (4.4%) ballots spoiled.
On the vote, USI President John Logue said: “USI is proud to have received such an overwhelming endorsement from the students of Trinity College. USI’s inaugural meeting was held in Trinity College on June 19th, 1959 and its Students’ Union has played a significant role in the growth and development of the organisation in its 53-year history.”
He added that “This result strengthens USI ahead of our upcoming national campaign. We now face into this campaign with a renewed mandate to act as the voice of Irish students and to fight for their education and welfare. We will continue to resist any increases in fees, cuts to the maintenance grant and any measures that affect access to education.”
UCC Students’ Union President Eoghan Healy this week reaffirmed his belief that UCCSU’s membership of the USI beneficial to the students of UCC. “Without USI there would be no national voice of students. For example, when the Clare County Council recently tried to withhold the grant from students who hadn’t paid the household charge, USI immediately were able to respond and coordinate protests across a number of Students’ Unions and ensure that this threat could not become a reality. Also USI provide considerable support for a number of campaigns and welfare issues”
UCC students voted to remain affiliated to USI in the 2012 Students’ Union elections last March. On the question “Should UCCSU remain affiliated to the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) at a cost of €5 per full time student and €2.50 per part-time student?” 2,543 voted in favour and 1,049 voted against.
Membership of the USI costs UCC Students’ Union circa €80,000 each year. This is paid for by students through a portion of the Capitation fee and goes towards the running costs of the national union of 8 full time officers. While CIT, UL & DCU not affiliated, Mr. Healy believes that “for quite a small charge (€5 per student) that there is considerable benefit to the students of UCC.”
The South has a strong representation on the USI 2012-13Officer Board with former Education Officer Cat O’Driscoll currently serving as Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance and former LGBT Rights Officer Laura Harmon current VP for Equality and Citizenship.