The campaigning is over for both unions; the votes have been cast and the Presidents have formally taken the reins. The time has come to deliver on their pledges. But what happens when the Presidents of the two most influential Unions on campus have differing views on the future of their Unions?
Well, the College could be set for a very interesting year indeed as re-elected President of the Graduate Students’ Union, Ronan Hodson, and Students’ Union President, Conan O’Bróin, appear to be going head-to-head in a battle over funding.
Hodson has said that there seems to be some “confusion” within the SU as “to whom represents whom”. He is adamant that the GSU will have separated from the Students’ Union by the end of the year. He believes that financially, the GSU cannot afford to continue to run as it currently does if they do stay part of the wider Union.
According to Hodson, the issue of funding is so urgent that if the matter isn’t resolved soon, the GSU may lose their Vice-President and Welfare Officer. Hodson believes that the issue of which union represents which body should be resolved, then funding provided proportionate to these groups.
However O’Bróin, President of the SU, sees things differently. He has said that he is “extremely disappointed that the GSU feels like this as the SU has always gone out of our way” to assist the GSU. He has said that he is “disappointed” that the GSU feels it “must go down this route”.
Listing the implications for students if the split does occur, O’Bróin has said the services provided to students will suffer. He claims there are certain services that the SU currently provides which will be lost if the split takes place. Among those services are the entertainments office and the services provided by “specific officers within the SU”. O’Bróin also mentions the “huge campaigning ability” that the SU provides. He believes that if the GSU does separate, this ability will be “inherently weakened” as there will then be “two seperate” unions as opposed to one united. “Currently, the SU has serious clout as the sole voice of students in Trinity.”
O’Bróin has said that the GSU should have no reason to split, as the graduates currently have the “best of both worlds”. According to the President, as it stands, the graduates are represented by the Students Union and again by the GSU.
Both Hodson and O’Bróin are hopeful that the issue can be sorted out “amicably” but both are adamant to get their way, with O’Broin admitting that he “doesn’t want to see it happening”.