TCDSU votes to stay neutral on Irish reunification

The result was announced at 6pm outside House 6

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has voted to remain neutral on the issue of a united Ireland. The result was announced by Education Officer Dale Ó Faoilleacháin on the doorstep of House 6. Out of a turnout of 2,157 students, 1,184 voted in favour of TCDSU remaining neutral on the issue, while 927 voted for the SU to support a united Ireland. 44 students voted to not support a united Ireland.

Olly Donnelly, a member of the Neutrality campaign said: “We’re over the moon. It was an incredibly hard-fought campaign for both sides. Ultimately we think everyone should be proud of the discussion that happened. We hope that this result means that Trinity can continue to have this discussion in a positive manner in the future.”

Speaking about the result, TCDSU President Kieran McNulty said: “We’re glad the students had the chance to debate this issue. We’re always going to support our students. I’m hopeful that the decision will return to Council for discussion on April 4th.” McNulty added that TCDSU will release an official statement on the result tomorrow.

TCDSU voted in their fifth Council in February to hold a preferendum to have a stance on the reunification of Ireland. The motion was proposed by Junior Sophister Psychology class rep Naomi Walshe and seconded by Cornelius Lenthe, Junior Sophister BESS class rep. The motion read: “Northern Ireland has never been closer to having a referendum. It’s fast becoming a student issue. Council mandates TCDSU to hold a preferendum to have a stance on the reunification of Ireland, with three options in the preferendum, these being neutrality, reunification or to oppose unification.”

Campaigning in the referendum started on March 9, with voting in the preferendum taking place yesterday and today.

Two groups supporting Neutrality and Unity campaigned on the issue. The unity group rallied on the basis of equal education, strengthened reproductive rights, no hard border controls and the cease of sectarian culture. Those supporting argued in favour of representing all students both North and South of the border, as well as maintaining an environment of discussion on the issue.

Since TCDSU voted to hold a preferendum, University College Dublin (UCD), University College Cork (UCC) and the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) students have all voted to support a reunified Ireland. The NUIG Students’ Union vote saw 74% of students supporting a united Ireland with a turn-out of 3,231 students, while UCC Students’ Union elections saw a turn-out of 3,949 student votes with a 63% vote in favour of unity. 63% of UCD students voted for a reunited Ireland.

Niamh Moriarty

Niamh is a Senior Freshman Political Science, Philosophy and Economics student. She is current digital editor for Trinity News.