TCDSU steadfast in refusal to pay €214k fine

“The students’ union is not an entity to which any purported fine could be legitimately levied”

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has told College that it does not intend to pay the €214k invoice levied against them by College.

Yesterday TCDSU President László Molnárfi acknowledged the invoice for the amount of €214,285 on behalf of the union.

“The description provided suggests that you seek to invoice the students’ union for alleged losses coinciding with the period of the recent successful student protests in relation to various issues in relation to Trinity College Dublin,” he said.

“The students of the university exercised their lawful right to peaceful protest.”

“If a loss of revenue coincided with such peaceful protests, none of which resulted in any arrests by An Garda Síochána, then such is a cost to the university of operating in a liberal democracy where peaceful protest is both lawful and encouraged.”

“On behalf of the students’ union, I reject your purported invoice,” said Molnárfi, “on the [basis] that the protests were undertaken by individual students”.

“The students’ union is not an entity to which any purported fine could be legitimately levied, and that any alleged losses coinciding with the student protests were entirely avoidable by the university.”

“It is only in a court of law that the university could seek to make the students’ union responsible for any alleged losses,” said Molnárfi.

He added that to do so would be a “bad use of the university’s resources, reputationally damaging, and according to our advice would most likely be unsuccessful”.

“I trust that the students’ union will hear no further in relation to this matter and that the purported invoice has been canceled.”

Speaking to Trinity News a spokesperson for College said: “We note the letter from the students’ union. This matter remains under discussion.”

Disciplinary proceedings against Molnárfi, president-elect of TCDSU Jenny Maguire and President of the Postgraduate Workers Union Trinity College Dublin (PWO TCD) Jeffrey Sardina began last week.

Disciplinary charges against the unions Communications officer Aiesha Wong have been dropped on the basis that she was not present at any relevant protest.

The €214,286 fine was sent by College’s Financial Services Division to TCDSU Administrative Officer Simon Evans on May 2.

The invoice cites five dates in which College incurred financial losses as a result of “disruptive protests” orchestrated TCDSU throughout the year.

TCDSU have been given until May 30 to pay the invoice.

College received widespread condemnation for issuing the fine, with Trinity Senator Lynn Ruane saying she is “deeply disappointed by the decision of the management of Trinity College Dublin to issue fines” in response to “peaceful and legitimate protests”.

Aoibhinn Clancy

Aoibhínn Clancy is the Deputy News Editor of Trinity News and is currently in her Junior Sophister Year studying History and Political Science.