Speculation that Belfield FM could become a society was met with confusion this week. The station will lose its SU support if the Union’s proposed constitution is ratified next month. Currently, site a moratorium on the formation of new societies is in place and it is unclear if an exception will be made for Belfield FM.
Peter Branigan, treat station manager of Belfield FM, agreed that there would be some obvious advantages to society status for Belfield FM, such as their fair share of Societies money and possibly a place in the new studio in the revamped Student Centre. However, he did state that the change could affect the length of their radio license due to a lack of funds.
Branigan also expressed concern over the structure of a society and how that would impact on the station, the lack of a paid manager position being one of the main concerns: “the implication that this would have on responsibilities is our main concern. However, this is also based on the assumption that the Constitution is passed, and that we are given society status. Neither of those is certain yet.” Branigan added that he was not scheduled to meet with Richard Butler, the Societies Officer, for three weeks or so.
Coirè McCrystall, a volunteer at the station described that he thinks “the SU’s decision is extremely shortsighted … Over the past few years the studio has achieved a lot and has expended its presence exponentially, and it is clear to see that turning the station into a society would be a regression, and deprive it of the support it would need to continue its improvement.”
When asked how he thought the station would work as a society, McCrystall didn’t show much enthusiasm, saying that “it would be hard for the station to succeed with a society structure. Furthermore, as a volunteer, this proposal has hurt my enjoyment of the station and the interest of many other hardworking volunteers”.
When asked for a comment on the possibility of Belfield FM becoming a society, despite a moratorium having being placed on the creation of new societies, Mr. Richard Butler told the College Tribune that “the Societies Council will consider any proposals that are necessary as a result of any restructuring required within the Students’ Union.”
This possibility for Belfield FM would mean that other societies who were denied society status as a result of the moratorium, could be left somewhat at a lose. Simon MacGiolla Easpaig, chair of the Sinn Fein Party which was denied society status at the beginning semester, expressed the concern that “should the moratorium be lifted for one society, it should be lifted for all societies who have applications submitted awaiting approval, otherwise, it would be a clear indication of favouritism on the part of the Societies Council.” He went on to say that “Sinn Féin UCD’s position remains the same. We believe that students have a right to political and social representation on campus and therefore request that the moratorium on new societies be lifted with immediate effect.”