In reply to your recent article, ‘Republicans éirígí denied society status,’ we regret to inform your readers that the CSC executive did indeed refuse our application for recognition, despite the fact that we followed all their rules and regulations, received over 100 student names and ID’s and are a recognised political party.
We in Éirígí TCD feel that the decision by the CSC executive to deny our members, who are students of our college, the right to assembly as a recognised society was a politically motivated and unjust decision which establishes a very dangerous precedent for future and existing left wing political societies in our College. Put simply if an executive consisting of unaccountable individuals, can overrule the wishes of a sizable number of students who wish to establish a society, and have received over 100 signatures and IDs in support of their right to do so, simply because it dislikes their politics the future of freedom of speech in our college is greatly endangered, and as students in our college we must all have open minds and live by the principle ‘ I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.’
In your article last week it was correctly stated that the members of Éirígí TCD intend to appeal the decision of the CSC executive at the CSC’s term general meeting in January. According to the CSC executive in your article, we have not officially begun the process as of yet. This I regret to state is untrue. Éirígí TCD had sought to appeal the decision of the CSC executive, approaching the CSC willing to answer the CSC executive’s arguments as to why we should not be recognised as an official college society. This offer to answer and challenge the decision of the CSC executive was refused by that body. We believe this to show that the CSC executive is aware that its decision to refuse us official recognition as a society is shallow and greatly illustrates that the CSC executive is unable to defend its own decision through open discussion. If the CSC executive was moved to defend its position on Éirígí TCD, it would grant our membership at the least five minutes of its time to challenge its decision or would debate it publically with us allowing the student body to make up its mind as to the position of Éirígí in our college.
It has been stated by the CSC executive that Éirígí TCD would not contribute to college life. This stemmed from its experience with similar small political societies in our college.
As a position we in Éirígí TCD feel that this is incorrect, and regret that the CSC executive has come to this decision and refused to allow us challenge a very wrong statement. We appeal to the CSC executive to reconsider this position. In our defence we cite the existence of the Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Anarchist society as small political parties who have contributed to the life of college. We furthermore ask as to why if these small left wing parties are allowed recognition as student societies has Éirígí been refused recognition? Surely as members of a recognised political party with a large membership, elected representatives and policy papers we are entitled to this? Éirígí TCD has done everything that has been asked of its members to setup as a society in our College, we collected over 100 names and student IDs as part of a petition to establish us as a recognised student society, and received large interest from the student body in our politics. We state that it is our belief that if we are given the opportunity to organise as a recognised society in our college we will make a valuable contribution to student life and to our College.
It had been stated by the CSC executive that our aims were covered by existing societies. We ask how can this be the case? Éirígí is a recognised political party. A political party is a group of individuals organised for the purpose of taking part in politics, running in elections and sharing similar opinions. On this basis alone to claim that the aims and objectives of Éirígí TCD are covered by existing societies is wrong and discourteous to the membership of Éirígí. We the members of Éirígí TCD feel that this position is akin to telling the members of Fianna Fail in our College that they cannot organise as an existing society because their objectives are covered by Fine Gael. We feel this position is akin to telling members of the Socialist Party in our College that they cannot organise because their objectives are covered by the existing Socialist Workers Party society. We feel this position is akin to telling members of the Green party they cannot organise because of the existence of the environmental society. Or telling the Hist they have no right to organise because of the existence of the Phil.
Put simply to ask a member of éirígí to join another political party with differing political philosophies and leaderships, because his/her political party has not been given recognition within our College would not make sense. Furthermore to refuse us recognition on the basis of existing societies which enjoy wholly different leadership structures, philosophies, membership and elected representatives, to deny us the right to appeal the CSC executive decision to the executive in order to answer its argument, and make us wait until January is horribly discourteous to our membership and counter to the student experience and the importance of societies in college life and student development.
We in Éirígí TCD believe that we have as much a right to organise in our college as any other recognised political party and firmly believe that precedent has been established through the existence of differing small left wing political parties for our right to existence as a society in our College, and we request that the CSC executive reconsiders its decision not to grant us recognition as a society and allows us freedom to organise within our college, and call upon all students, irrespective of political difference, to support our right to organise and be recognised in our college.
On behalf of Éirígí TCD