Statement by Mícheál Gallagher, doctor President of UCD Students’ Union:

I wish to clarify some issues that are currently circulating in the media in regard to the issue of UCDSU membership.

It has been claimed that the Students’ Union Executive took a decision that was of ‘supreme cowardice and buck passing’. This simply is not true. The Executive take the UCDSU constitution seriously and after a long discussion on the matter a vote was held and a motion was passed that stated:

“That Exec write to the student saying that the constitution currently does not allow for students to leave (Article 3.1), sales so until and unless the constitution is amended (some constitutional amendments are expected alongside SU Executive Elections Spring 2014) it is not possible for resignation to be accepted.”

It has always been my intention to restructure UCDSU in a more progressive fashion and to propose an amendment in the Spring of 2014 within a constitutional review to allow for those seeking to opt out of UCDSU membership, store while maintaining access to services such as welfare support, to be able to do so. We have also indicated to Mr. O’Connor provisions within UCDSU structures to address this matter, including: bringing the matter to SU Council or holding a referendum to change SU policy or indeed the constitution.

I am personally disappointed that Mr. O’Connor has decided to play this out in the media. UCDSU has been nothing but fair and open with him regarding his options and the constraints placed on UCDSU by its constitution.

I have been informed that Mr. O’Connor has appealed the decision to the Independent Appeals and Disciplinary Board (IADB). I am pleased that he has finally engaged with the structures of the Union and UCDSU will of course accept the outcome of any judgement IADB makes.

Mr. O’Connor has stated on numerous occasions that he would like a reallocation of his Student Union fee to other areas of the university. To clarify: UCDSU is primarily financed by a block grant, which it receives from the student consultative forum, itself a subcommittee of the Academic Council, on an annual basis. There is no ‘membership fee’ paid on behalf of any student to UCDSU. Other income UCDSU receives is from commercial endeavours such as the SU shops.

I hope this statement clarifies issues.

Is mise le meas,

Mícheál Gallagher?President of UCD Students’ Union