UCDSU President responds to criticism over undonated referendum funds

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In a public statement posted on his personal Facebook account, UCDSU President Barry Murphy has defended the actions of the Students’ Union, after an article was published by the College Tribune, and shared by UCD student, Ryan Oakes. The article reported that the Together For Yes campaign had still to receive the money raised through the sale of repeal t-shirts by UCD for Choice and through fundraising by the SU.

The article explains that Murphy stated “due to the poorly judged pre-order by UCD for Choice we still have a considerable amount of t-shirts left and the fundraiser has not made near as much as they envisaged and wanted. Therefore we haven’t completely closed out t-shirt sales yet.” Murphy confirmed that the money is currently being held in the SU charity account, according to the article.

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Reporting the total “€82,595.82” raised by the SU for their selected charities over the past year, Murphy said, “there was no story about that.” He recounted the work he and the SU have done leading up to the referendum. “We registered 515 people to vote in a single day before the deadline and another 2,000 or so throughout the year. We printed posters that were applauded country wide for being some of the best from any campaign group…In the two week run up to the referendum we also successfully brought Darkness Into Light onto campus, raising over €50k for Pieta House.”

Murphy goes on to explain that “the t-shirts made a loss and the Union absorbed that loss. Any money that was handed over by a student will go to TFY. Together for Yes are aware the €450 is there and are appreciative to have it to help continue to lobby ’til abortion access legislation is finalised and in place.”

His statement was met with criticism from UCD students, who described it as “inappropriate” and in “poor taste”. Speaking to the University Observer, Ryan Oakes explained “the point of my post was to criticise the president for shouldering none of the blame for the donation not occurring and using his platform in the Tribune instead to implicate UCD For Choice. I was not commenting on the non donation itself.”

According to Murphy, the SU will meet with representatives from Together For Yes sometime next week to transfer the donation.

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