UCDSU President Paul Lynam came under scrutiny from class representatives at the second SU Council meeting of the year, following the release of the 2010/2011 SU budget figures.
Lynam was questioned on issues such as funding for class rep training, the increase in staff salaries and also on why class rep hoodies were free last year, but this year require a €10 supplement, in spite of the fact the same amount of money has been allocated to them.
Lynam said: “The SU budget isn’t just about balancing a budget. Of course it’s important; it allocates resources. But it also sets out your priorities as a union.”
The two main areas that received increases in this year’s budget were staff salaries and the Welfare Fund, which was doubled.
In terms of new additions to the budget, money has been pumped into the anti-fees campaign and into hiring more experienced staff to work in the Students’ Union: “We’ve allocated €20,000 extra to the fees campaign – the ‘Education not Emigration’ campaign, and we’ve increased wages, not just for sabbatical officers, but for our staff to bring in more professional staff with a proper professional background.”
A number of areas of the budget have also been cut, such as the NightBus, which has been replaced by USI. “It’s been replaced by the USI one which charges a nominal fee of €2. This has led to a saving of €15,000 which has been put into the fees and grants campaign. Obviously our phone bill is dramatically down, expenses are curtailed.”
Lynam was keen to emphasise areas where savings had been made: “We’re delighted that class rep training is 50 per cent cheaper than it was last year, and 100 per cent on previous years.”
Lynam spoke of his desire for his sabbatical team to seek extra funding throughout the year: “What we’ve asked all Executive Officers to do is come up with a clear and precise plan for the year, and that they’re seeking sponsorship, because I will not fund a blanket funding of a campaign, that is only participated in by union people. It has to have involvement; it has to meet its targets. So everyone has to have a plan that comes forward.”
Lynam added that the nature of the campaign would determine where this sponsorship is sourced. For example, the Irish language campaign will look to areas such as An Cumann Gaelach for help in funding its campaign.
Lynam said: “Obviously, we’ll continue supporting these campaigns, there’s no question of that, but people will have to have bothered to look for sponsorship.”
The budget has been published online and is available at www.ucdsu.ie.