Motion passed to mandate TCDSU to campaign against the ratification of CETA

Originally proposed as the second LTP motion of the night, this motion mandates TCDSU to campaign against the ratification of EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

A motion was passed at tonight’s Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union (TCDSU) fifth council, mandating them to campaign against the ratification of EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. 

Originally proposed as the second Long Term Proposal (LTP) motion of the night, Morgan Hildula, Junior Sophister PPES class rep, said that an investor court system “only benefits corporate interests” and that it holds a number of concerns for Trinity students and Irish citizens. 

Hildula said that unions in other colleges, such as NUI Galway, UCD and UCC, have passed similar motions.

A motion E was proposed by STEM convenor Daniel O’Reilly to amend the wording to state that “TCDSU to boycott any company” that takes a case through ICS.

Debate ensued at Council around whether a long-term policy was appropriate for the union to adopt on CETA and whether a motion would fit with the union’s constitution.

The motion was brought forward by drawing on Section 1.4.a of the TCDSU constitution, which states “[t]he primary objective of the Union shall be to provide for and promote and defend the interests of its members”. 

Secretary to Council Cian Walsh said that this section was not enough to base the motion on, though he clarified that this was just advice. 

Deputy STEM Convenor Bev Genockey raised the time-sensitive nature of CETA and suggested a referendum was not the best way of approaching the issue. She added that she believes the motion “aligns with the aims and principles of the union”.

Education Officer Megan O’Connor suggested that the union could instead amend the motion for long term policy to be against what CETA is doing “in spirit”, which would mandate them against CETA in a broader sense. 

Bev Genockey said that “I really don’t think that we can wait three weeks”, as they are currently “ramming it through the Dail”. 

Genockey suggested that “we just remove the long term policy element of it” and “pass the motion tonight and then have a referendum later”. 

O’Reilly raised whether the motion was constitutional to take a stance on without a referendum, saying that “it sounds like we’re using an argument of urgency to vote on something that is unconstitutional”. 

O’Connor said she “appreciated the urgency” but she also believed that this motion needed to be a long term policy. 

Genockey said that she agreed with the Education Officer, and suggested to amend the motion to campaign against the ratification of CETA and remove the long term proposal element of the motion until CETA is ratified.

This wording also changed the LTP motion into a normal motion, mandating that TCDSU campaign to not ratify CETA. 

This motion was seconded by Áine Hennessy, TCDSU Environmental Officer, who stated that she thinks “everyone should vote it in”. 

At Council, she continued that “a vote for this deal by Ireland is a vote for environmental destruction”, and that it is an “unregulated and unhindered, destruction of Ireland’s natural habitat”.

Additional reporting by Kate Glen, Jamie Cox, Bella Salerno and Connie Roughan. 

This article was updated at 10:55pm on March 2 to amend O’Connor’s statement during Council on the motion.
This article was also amended at 11:19pm on March 2, to clarify what Deputy STEM Convener Bev Genockey said in relation to amendments to the motion.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.