Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has recorded a surplus of €32,522 in the financial year ending June 2019, marking the first time in four years that the union has not recorded a deficit in its annual accounts.
The surplus was received by the union’s Administrative Officer and Co-treasurer, Simon Evans, as a “welcome return to surplus and stabalising of the SU’s finances”.
The union’s shop in House 6 saw a return to running on a surplus, recording a profit of €23,891 following a loss last year of €8,419.
The SU cafe also recorded a surplus this year of €979, having recorded a loss last year of nearly €4,000.
However, despite a considerable improvement in the shape of its accounts, the union’s shop in the Hamilton building has continued to run on a loss, recording a deficit in their accounts this year of €3,647, down from last year’s loss of €23,688, largely caused by a €17,589 refurbishment of the shop.
The union’s overall income for the year was up from last year, due mainly to a rise in income from Ents, a rise in the capitation grant from College and a rise “click income”. The union’s overall spending also dropped from €1,209,062 to €1,183,084.
Publishing expenses which include the costs of the University Times and the union’s website fell from €41,986 to €33,132.
The Treasurer’s report detailed that the SU’s success is dependent on running a “reasonable surplus every year”, with 75% of the surplus becoming available to be spent in the following year.
In 2017/2018, recorded a deficit of €70,622, four times larger than the size of the deficit the previous year. The dramatic increase was attributed to spending on the Take Back Trinity and Repeal the Eighth campaigns.
In March, TCDSU Council called a referendum on the shortening of the Ents Officer’s term by three months in an effort to reduce costs, which passed the following month with 65% of the vote. TCDSU sabbatical officers receive a salary and on-campus accommodation, which amounts to around €25,000 per officer. The shortened Ents Officer term is to come into effect from the 2020/2021 year.
The referendum was called after Council was warned by then-TCDSU President Shane De Rís’ that he had been requested by College to present a plan to resolve the SU’s financial issues or that the union would face an audit. De Rís said that an audit would pose “extreme risks” to the union’s “independence and ability to operate”.
TCDSU is one of College’s five capitated bodies, alongside the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU), the Central Societies Committee (CSC), Dublin University Central Athletics Committee (DUCAC), and Trinity Publications.