Travel bursaries are now available to Irish students studying in the United Kingdom to return to Ireland vote in the referendum on the Eighth Amendment on May 25. National Union of Students (NUS) UK launched the bursary, which is part of a wider campaign, alongside NUS-Union of Students in Ireland (USI). Between £55 and £110 will be made available to pay for flights, depending on the resources available to each UK student union.
However, NUS has cautioned student unions in the UK to consider charity laws when establishing the bursaries. NUS have also created a travel bursary fund that student unions can apply to in order to supplement their funds.
A statement on the NUS website said: “We will match fund students’ unions contributions towards individual students’ travel up to a maximum of £55 per student. For small and under-resourced unions a higher subsidy, up to a maximum of £110 per student, may be possible.”
In a statement about the campaign, USI President Michael Kerrigan welcomed the initiative and said: “Any Irish citizen studying in the UK can get in touch with their Students’ Union and avail of a travel bursary fund that Students’ Unions can apply to. Students can get between £55 and £110 to pay for the flights home to vote ‘Yes’ on May 25th.”
Speaking about the campaign NUS-USI President Olivia Potter-Hughes said: “We hope that this will inspire many students across the UK to join this fight for the shared goal of reproductive justice in two jurisdictions on the island of Ireland. Cross-border collaboration and solidarity are central features of abortion rights activism on the island of Ireland and NUS-USI is firmly committed to this approach.”
NUSI-USI is the student movement in Northern Ireland and was founded in 1972 through a bilateral agreement between USI and NUS. The organisation has an estimated membership of 200,000. NUS is a students’ union confederation of over 600 students’ unions in the UK. USI is the national representative institution for Irish students in the Republic of Ireland.
With less than two weeks before the referendum on the Eighth Amendment, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) have began a canvassing campaign alongside the Together for Yes campaign as well as launch the #Ringthelads campaign. A recent TCDSU voting registration drive signed up almost 1,000 new voters.