‘Lack of awareness’ may result in defeat of sports centre referendum – ‘yes’ campaign manager

news1Lydia Todd, manager of the ‘yes’ campaign for the SU referendum on whether or not the union should support an increase in the existing annual sports centre charge from €90 to €120, believes that a “lack of awareness” of the motives behind the increase may work against the referendum’s passing.

She said that simultaneous campaigning for the SU sabbatical officer elections as well as for two other referendums has made it difficult to effectively inform students about the issues at stake in the sports centre referendum. “As the main focus has been on the sabbatical positions, there has not been enough information given out by College or the SU about the three referendums which are also taking place,” she said, adding that when she started campaigning “very little was known about them and the majority of students were unaware that they were even happening.”

She said that the absence of a ‘no’ campaign for the referendum is not an issue. “The facts are there for people to make up their minds, so I don’t really think it is a problem,” she explained. “For me it is more problematic, that there are other, less reasonable, student charges being discussed at the same time as this.”

Though hopeful of winning, Todd expects a close result due the issue of “asking students to pay more when they are unaware of the consequences.” Despite these concerns, she said she has met few strongly opposed to the increase and that she has experienced “a good deal of support from the both student body and staff.”

However, a Trinity News election poll of 429 students carried out on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week in the Arts Block, the Hamilton, D’Olier Street, St. James’s Hospital, the JCR Café and the GMB found strong opposition to the sports charges referendum, with 31.2% planning on supporting the increase, 54.4% opposing it and 14.4% still undecided. Following the exclusion of those who remained uncommitted, only 36% support the proposal, against 64% who intended to vote against the proposition.