UCD’s student radio station, Belfield FM, will no longer have a place within the Students’ Union should the new draft of the constitution pass a student body referendum in the next few months.
Students’ Union President Pat de Brún supports the idea of having a student radio station on campus, but believes that it no longer has a place within the SU, stating, “we are in favour of Belfield FM, we think it’s a good idea. It has a place on campus but we don’t think the place for it is within the Union.”
Belfield FM Station Manager Peter Branigan expressed his disappointment at the news, “we feel that exiting the SU structure would be a large step backwards for the station and would not be beneficial for its volunteers. We also feel that it might discourage prospective students from coming to the University, instead choosing a university with better media facilities.”
De Brún defended the move, stating that the SU is unable to give Belfield FM the attention it requires, “I don’t think there’s enough of a focus within the Union and I don’t think, with the nature of the Union, there ever will be a focus or resources put into it … a society structure would benefit it more and suit it more.”
He explained that when Belfield FM was originally established, it was only intended to lie within the realms of the SU for a couple of years before moving on and finding a home elsewhere, an idea that, he insists, “fell by the wayside”. The SU will continue to support Belfield FM during its transitory process. However, under the new constitution, Belfield FM will not have a constitutional status within the Students’ Union.
De Brún cited Belfield FM’s move to their new studio in the new Student Centre as a time to “solidify it in a home that is more suited to it … I believe that home is within societies and we have tentative support for that to go ahead.”
No talks have taken place with Societies’ Officer Richard Butler to date, which appears to have left the station in an uncertain state. According to Branigan, “the response from our staff has been overwhelmingly negative towards the news. Many are in first or second year and would have hoped to work with the station again next year, and are now left unsure of what next year’s structure will entail.”