Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) recorded a deficit of €14,837 for the year ending June 30, 2017. This follows a deficit of nearly €32,283 last year. The reduction of the deficit is attributed in the report to “in large part to the improved performance of the SU shops in both the Hamilton and House 6. We are confident that continued innovations in that area, and cost saving measures where suitable, will return the Union to a budget surplus in the near future.”
The report said: “The effect on the day to day Union’s finances has been dramatic. It was anticipated that a small surplus of income over expenditure would be maintained in the long term. This cannot be achieved. The deficit cannot be sustained and will undermine the financial structure of the students union…The SU can sustain a loss making situation for one or two more years. It must use this time to get a grip on its finances. The key to these successes was simple and remains the same now – the Students’ Union must run at a reasonable surplus every year and 75% of this surplus becomes available to be spent in the following year.”
The statement also said that all expenditure will “now have to be reviewed in light to the new financial situation”.
The total expenditure of the union was €1,478,062 in the year ending June 2017. Ents recorded a profit of €17,493, with an increase in income of €6,623.
The SU shop in House 6 recorded a profit of €6,362 compared to last year’s loss of €637 loss last year. The Hamilton shop recorded a profit of €3,810 compared to a €5,884 loss last year.
The University Times also continues to be significant pressure on Union accounts. The report stated that “there simply was not enough planning done when the position of Editor was created, to develop a sustainable funding model”. Publications in general, which include the University Times, the SU website and the student diary, received an increase in funding of €6,355 despite a drop in advertising of €6,225.
The surplus on student services fell from €176,347 to €155,588 with a significant reduction in the income and expenses of student services, at €256,300 and €235,541 respectively.
The phone and laptop repair shop Click made a loss of €6,131 with a decrease in income of €3,576. There was also a significant decrease in sundry charges, from €1,228 in 2016 to €245 in 2017.
Despite the deficit, the Union received an increase in the capitations grant, funding received directly from College, of €8,092.
The SU cafe ran a deficit of €1,613, despite the report commenting that it is “popular” and “reflects well on students who run it”. However the report stated that the SU will “not fund a loss making café in the long term”.
TCDSU President Kevin Keane said: “The improvement in our finances this year as compared to last is excellent news. That is significant progress, and huge credit is due to last year’s sabbatical team, and the excellent administrative staff that support us in budgeting and financial stability…Naturally, the reality of operating under a deficit has been a significant strain on the Union in the past past years, and continues to be so. 2015/16 was the first time in recent memory that the Union posted a deficit, and we are hopeful that this significant reduction is the first step on the road to long term financial stability.”
In a press release, former TCDSU President Kieran McNulty said: “I am happy to see that last year, we halved the union’s deficit. I have to thank the SU officers and staff, particularly Simon Evans and Daire McNab, for this. We received the news about last year’s deficit of €32,000 around this time last year, upon which most of the union’s plans had been set. We then acted to curb further expenditure – crucially, the UT editor’s summer accommodation, class rep training, the sabbatical officer training trip. We then cut excess, such as our printing, our campaign week budgets, and together with Simon, we monitored the shops and café’s take-in extremely closely. We also received grants for the upkeep of our offices from College.”
McNulty continued: “The reality is that adding a full-time editor position for the University Times was not costed when the decision was made to create it. Together with UT, the SU has and will continue to work with them on getting their sponsorship up to cover their costs. Critically, the Union is not in the emergency situation it was last year anymore, and I am confident it will return to a position of adding to our reserves very soon.”
Additional reporting from Sarah Meehan and Michael Foley.