A University College Dublin Student Union (UCDSU) referendum on whether to rejoin the Union of Students Ireland (USI) failed to meet a minimum turnout threshold, despite an overwhelming majority voting in favour.
The referendum results, released today, showed that whilst 77.7% of votes were cast in favour of the organisation rejoining the USI from a total valid poll of 1,792 votes, the required threshold of 10% minimum voter turnout was not met and thus the referendum did not pass.
The UCDSU disaffiliated from the USI in 2013, when 64.5% voted in favour of leaving. According to the University Observer, membership costs and doubts about the organisation’s efficiency to defend the rights of students were among the main reasons for UCDSU’s disaffiliation from the national students’ union.
A UCDSU referendum in 2016 to rejoin the organisation was overwhelmingly rejected, with 76% of voters choosing to remain independent of the USI.
This vote follows heightened concerns from students about the ability of the USI to protect the rights of students and the membership cost each respective student union is required to pay towards the body.
In an opinion piece for UCD’s College Tribune, Trinity College Dublin Student Union (TCDSU) President-elect László Molnárfi recently described the USI as “a bureaucratic, toxic and weak organisation”.
Molnárfi attended the USI National Council in June 2022. He claimed he was “not allowed to speak” and was called “disrespectful to the work of the executive” when he attempted to raise his concerns with the HEA Bill 2022, which the USI has collaborated with the government on.
The USI currently represents over 374,000 students in third level education across over forty campuses in Ireland.