Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has recorded a deficit of nearly €50,000 in the financial year ending June 2020, with Covid-19 bringing a “very negative effect” to the union’s commercial operations.
TCDSU will be using its reserves over the next year to maintain its operations.
The union’s excess of expenditure over income for the 2019/2020 year was €49,803.
Last year, TCDSU recorded its first surplus for the first time in four years, with an excess income of €35,522.
However, the union has returned to a deficit this year with a large drop in income from its commercial operations.
In a statement accompanying the accounts, TCDSU has said that its accounts “reflect the very negative financial situation that the closure, due to Covid, had had across all activities, especially in the SU shops”.
“The Union’s successes in the past decade have been built on achieving a surplus and then spending this on student services,” TCDSU said.
“This will not be possible during this Covid period and the SU will be using its reserves to maintain its operations. The SU will, of course, endeavour to maintain its structures and expenditure on student representation.”
In particular, gross income from Ents has taken a significant hit, dropping from €238,174 in 2019 to €63,091 in 2020.
Ents expenses also dropped dramatically from €211,832 to €54,127
TCDSU said that “Ents events continued to be well received and supported, and a surplus €8,864 was recorded”.
“The surplus on student services fell slightly from €156,901 to €122,964,” the union said.
“All other Income and Expenditure accounts were on budget or reflected the reduction in activity caused by the Covid lockdown.”
“The SU maintained its significant expenditure on Welfare, Publications (including the University Times, website and Student Diary) and also on Executive Expenditure (Class Representative training), it was anticipated the Students Union would continue this expenditure.”
The union’s shops in House 6 and the Hamilton both operated at a loss.
The Hamilton shop made a net loss of €20,207, compared to a net loss of €3,647 the previous year, while the shop in House 6 made a net loss of €46,265 compared to a profit of €23,891 in 2019.
TCDSU said that the results for the shops “reflect the impossible position of ‘operating’ without any income and with overhead only reduced by a limited amount”.
“The shops will be applying for relief on rental and services charges payments during the Covid period.”
The SU Café returned a deficit of €1,539, compared to a surplus of €979 last year.
“The café has been in decline for many years with turnover shrinking for many years,” the union said.
Expenditure on Officer Expenses and Freshers’ Week rose in 2019/2020 compared to the previous year.
Most items of expenditure saw a decrease from the previous year, including expenses on Officers Salaries, Staff Salaries, Ents, Student Services, Welfare, Elections, Publications, Office Equipment and Maintenance, Council and Executive, the SU Café, and Refresh.
Publication expenses, which include publications such as the University Times, the union’s website, and the student diary, decreases from €33,132 to €30,738.
However, the union’s overall reduced expenditure, from €1,183,084 to €934,799, did not offset its loss of income.
In addition to decreased income from the union’s shops, café and Ents, income from Student Services fell from €499,710 to €437,891.
Income from the Click store dropped from €34,904 to €30,907, and guidebook and advertising income was slightly lower, falling from €35,283 to €34,039.
The union’s Capitation Grant, which is paid to the union annually by College’s Capitations Committee and is funded from students’ fees, increased from €326,650 to €339,680.