UCC students reject €50 charge for enhanced sports facilities

University College Cork students have narrowly defeated a proposal to charge them €50 extra a year to improve and expand green spaces and sport facilities.

The 54%-46% outcome followed two days of voting by almost 3,900 students in a referendum run by UCC Students’ Union (UCCSU).

The UCC sport and physical activity department, and the executive representing almost 60 student sports clubs, lobbied for the increase to the €165 capitation which is paid in addition to the Department of Education-set €3,000 student fee.

It was intended the funding raised would be ringfenced to help develop new facilities at UCC’s sports grounds in Curraheen, and to support the development of green spaces in the lower grounds, and a new tennis and cricket facility nearby at Mardyke Gardens. The Mardyke Gardens development is likely to still go ahead as part of a joint project with neighbouring tennis and cricket clubs, for which UCC lodged a planning application last month.

UCC may, however, have to revise its approach to the Curraheen development, where pitches are to be moved to a site nearby that currently is used by sports clubs and is due to become the site of a science and innovation park. A planning application has not yet been submitted for the new sports ground, which will offer more synthetic pitches, and improved changing and hospitality facilities.

The proposals were put to a vote after more than 500 students signed a petition to call a referendum. A separate vote saw the students’ union mandated to campaign for a united Ireland, by almost a two-to-one majority.

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