Funds set aside for UCD Students’ Union’s campaign against third level tuition fees is to be allocated among similar campaigning causes, meaning that the Union’s projected budget deficit for the current year will remain unaffected.
The recent Programme for Government agreed by the Fianna Fáil and Green Party coalition stated that the parties would “not proceed with any new scheme of student contribution for third level education” as long as they remained in power. This means that €20,000 allocated toward the “fees and grants campaign” in the SU’s draft budget published earlier this month could now have be used toward other means. However, the amount originally set aside is to be retained for other aspects of the fees and grants campaign.
UCD Students’ Union President, Gary Redmond, explained that the four main objectives of the Union’s anti-fees campaign were to fight Fianna Fáil’s recent proposals regarding the introduction of fees, the enactment of the Student Support Bill through the Dáil, further student-friendly development of the Higher Education Grants system – described by Redmond as being currently “problematic” – and the reduction and reform of the Student Services Levy.
Redmond stated that “it is anticipated that a significant proportion of this €20,000 will still be spent on Student Support Bill, HEG [Higher Education Grants] and Registration Fee elements of the campaign, now that we have achieved our aim regarding tuition fees.”
UCDSU had taken an active part in fighting against the introduction of tuition fees, including a sustained campaign of lobbying TDs from all parties, protests at both college and national levels, and working with students’ unions from other institutions nationwide.
A revised budget is expected in the coming months to amend the budgeting of the fees and grants campaign. According to Redmond, there is an intention “to publish a supplementary budget at the beginning of the next semester to present the SU fiscal position at that point” to comply with these changes.