The Burkean can report this evening of an apparent schism between NUIG and the university’s Student Union (NUIGSU) that leaves the beleaguered Union in financial tatters.
Centering on the controversial levy decrease at the behest of a student referendum which saw the fee reduced from €244 to €140 per annum, it would appear that a disgruntled university management has very little interest in picking up the shortfall with the SU. The result has been an alleged termination of funding by the university which could put the SU in a financially ruinous state.
In recap, students at NUIG previously paid an annual fee of €244 to support the SU, various college facilities, and whatever expenses the SU saw grace to bestow. Recently a loan was taken out by the university for a new sports centre with an increase sought in the levy to cover the costs. This precipitated a referendum led by current SU president Roisin Nic Lochlainn, who secured a reduction in the annual fee to €140 and removed SU backing of the sports centre entirely.
Infuriating parts of the university who saw it as a cynical move to welch on payment, therein followed a coarsening of relations between the SU and NUIG management with the former now cutting off financial support entirely it appears.
The notoriously left-leaning SU has been criticised by some as giving itself more money than it deserves while slashing student services in the wake of the recent referendum on the annual levy. With college societies complaining about a lack of consultation, the move by the university to cut off funding would devastate the SU heading into a new academic year.
According to a source close to the SU, officials have known about the ceasing of funding for the past two weeks, with select students only being informed of the change in recent days. With an annual income of around €721,867 primarily gleaned through student fees, there is little understanding as to where the SU will make up the hole left by the levy reduction.
To compensate for the slashing of the levy, the SU has already proposed a reduction of funding to various student projects in the region of 70-80%, angering many. Regarded as a cheap populist measure for electoral gain, students are now facing a near total collapse of services due to the reduction with the simultaneous removal of university funding as well as student levy.
In emails seen by The Burkean, college societies warned of an expected slashing of budgets as a result of the schism between the SU and University.
A source, speaking anonymously within the university, outlined the fiasco and its impact on student services
“Students deserve to know the truth and shouldn’t be misled by a union that doesn’t have their interests at heart”
This is not the first time The Burkean has reported on the inner workings of NUIG student politics. The SU’s current president, Roisin Nic Lochlainn, formerly of Sinn Féin, hit the headlines during the Irish Antifa Project, when she admitted to ‘milkshaking’ Justin Barrett of the National Party, as well as stated that she was willing to pass on the names to our reporter posing as an Antifa activist. Since then, the SU has been embroiled in much acrimony, from failed attempts to roll out deplatforming measures to a metoo scandal which felled a prominent left wing activist.
With perennial issues around financial solvency and the right of students to disassociate, many SUs across Ireland are facing a backlash, with Trinity’s student union almost gutted by a student referendum. Evidentially, the moral and financial pigsty of SU politics is overwhelming some students, and we at The Burkean can only counsel them to cut ties with great haste.
Neither NUIGSU nor the college itself have responded to our inquiries at the time of writing,