THE LESBIAN, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Society (LGBT) has been refused full funding for their annual training weekend, known as Pink Training, by the Students’ Union (SU). The Pink Training event is due to take place in Galway this year from the 7th to the 9th November.
SU President, Aodhán Ó Deá stated that that travel expenses to and from the training will be provided by the SU however, over the past eight years, the SU had provided the cost of the training, which is around €75 per person, excluding travel expenses. Mr Ó Deá has assured that any members of the LGBT who may not be able to finance themselves for the training would be paid for from the Welfare Fund.
A member of the LGBT stated that they were “shocked, surprised and angry” at the decision to revoke full sponsorship of the event. The member explained that due to the short notice of refusal of funding by the SU, the society have been placed under heightened pressure to try and secure enough money to fund the event.
The SU President acknowledged the benefits of the training weekend, however, it was decided by an “almost unanimous” verdict at Executive Council that the SU “don’t pay for any other trips like this, so the Societies’ Council should pay for it.”
Mr Ó Deá explained that he is optimistic that the Societies’ Council will cover the LGBT’s expenses for the weekend. “I am pretty hopeful the Societies Council will fund it, so in the mean time if [LGBT] need some funding, perhaps…we could pay and then they could pay us back. That’s just something that I’m proposing, but I would obviously have to ask at Executive Council.”
The Societies Council previously refused expenses of the LGBT Pink Training on the grounds that the event was one which was held in conjunction with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). When questioned about the SU’s refusual of funding, USI’s LGBT Officer, Robert Doyle commented that they understood funding for the training was not given due to communication difficulties.
Mr Ó Deá expressed the SU were in full support of the training, but their main focus concerning the LGBT was Rainbow Week, an annual event scheduled for February 2009. The LGBT Pink training is organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) to promote awareness of sexual identity and empowerment among students. Only the SU in Trinity College and UCD pay the training event expenses.