TU Dublin Students’ Union vote to mandate a “Leave USI” campaign

by Elio Bonelli


TU Dublin Students’ Union’s Student Council members voted in favour of mandating the elected officers to run a 'Leave USI’ membership campaign at its recent meeting on the 13th of February 2024 in Aungier Street.

This follows on from a vote on the 12th of December 2023 in Bolton Street, where the Student Council voted in favour of holding an Affiliation Referendum for membership of Union of Students Ireland (USI).

Speaking on the mandate President of TU Dublin Students’ Union (TU Dublin SU) Brian Jordan said, “If we leave, we would be able to make our voices be heard more clearly on a national level and would no longer have to rely on USI in following up on our proposals.” he said.

Jordan went on to say “TU Dublin students pay an affiliation fee of €5 per full-time student and €2.50 per part-time student which amounts to roughly €140,000 per year that is coming out of the TU Dublin Students’ Union budget. When you add in things like sending members to the USI congress events, accommodation, and expenses, that figure goes up to around €150,000 per year. If we leave USI, we would save a lot of money that could be used on other meaningful things like hiring new officers and improving facilities around campus,” Jordan said.



TU Dublin SU has been a member with USI since 2019 but says that it “pays a significant amount of student money to an organisation that does not provide tangible results to its student population, nor does it represent students effectively on a national level.”

Furthermore, TU Dublin SU regrets the lack of improvements that have taken place [within USI] despite “significant work being put in by the TU Dublin SU Executive over the past two years.”

In a statement following the meeting, TU Dublin SU wrote that the “constitution [of the USI] is often broken, mandates are ignored, and ‘populist’ culture often guides decision making more than actual content”, citing the lack of improvement in Transgender healthcare.

“Unions should continue to work together, as UCD and USI do, and come together for national protests and actions. However, a Union does not need to pay extortionate affiliation fees to achieve this, nor is it a morally appropriate way of managing student money,” they said.



In a statement, USI President Chris Clifford said that “many Students’ Unions are required by their constitutions to have such referendums on a regular basis, often every two or three years, so these referendums happen every year.”

“For example, UCC SU held a referendum last week and will remain in USI, while SETU SU is also holding a referendum, along with TUDSU next week. Students usually vote to stay in USI - the last time a union left was UCD in 2013, before that it was DCU in 2002. However, DCU rejoined several years ago and has voted to stay in a few times since,” he said.

Clifford said that the USI “strongly believes that TU Dublin students are better served in USI to ensure TUD students can determine what USI focuses and campaigns on, and benefit from exclusive services like USI Pink Training, SIPTU membership, and national campaign support.”



TU Dublin SU will hold a referendum on USI membership from March 19th-21st 2024 along with the Full Time Officer Elections and Plebiscite.

For easy identification, the referendum ballot paper is white in colour.

The referendum question will be:

Should the TU Dublin Students’ Union remain an affiliated member of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI)?

Very simply:

A Yes vote will mean that TU Dublin SU remains affiliated with USI.

A No vote means that TU Dublin SU will no longer be affiliated with USI.

Due to contractual arrangements, if TU Dublin students vote to leave USI membership, it would take one year for this to come into effect. E.g. in the 2025/2026 academic year.

For more information on the upcoming referendum, visit here.