Gaeilge Initiative referendum sees highest voter turnout in six years

1,245 students have turned out to vote so far, the highest number since the BDS mandate referendum in 2018

1,245 students have so far turned out to vote in this week’s Gaeilge Initiative referendum, the highest turnout for any union referendum in roughly six years.

The previous referendum with the highest turnout was the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) mandate referendum in 2018 which saw a total 2,050 votes cast. 

The Arts Building has seen the highest turnout with 642 votes cast, followed by the Hamilton with 446. 

The turnout is a major increase on last year’s Sports Levy Referendum which had 790 votes in total. 

Polling stations will be open tomorrow in the Hamilton and the Art’s Building from 10am to 6pm. A polling station will also be open in Tallaght Hospital from 12pm to 3pm. 

This referendum is the first major vote to take place in person since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the union to hold elections online.

A trial of paper ballots took place earlier this academic year with class representative elections.

The referendum proposes that the Irish language be granted official status within the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) constitution, as well as the creation of a full time Irish language officer (Oifigeach na Gaeilge) within the union. 

If passed, the referendum would also lead to the establishment of a dedicated fund to promote Irish in the union, the Central Societies Committee (CSC), Trinity Sports’ Union (DUCAC) and Trinity Publications.

The new initiative will require a €4 increase in the Student Levies and Charges (SLC). This would create a fund of approximately €80,000 for the Gaeilge Initiative.

Earlier today, the TCDSU Electoral Commission confirmed that the “Votáil Yes” campaign had violated campaign rules by leaving “campaign material unattended”.

They were subsequently banned from canvassing from 3pm to 5pm today and their campaign materials were confiscated.

Charlotte Kent

Charlotte Kent is the Co-News Editor at Trinity News and a Senior Freshman PPES Student.