University of Limerick Students' Union

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University of Limerick Students' Union
Ulsu logo.png
Institution University of Limerick
Location Students` Union Building
Established 1972
President Sarah Dunphy
Affiliations none
Website University of Limerick Students' Union

The University of Limerick Students' Union (Irish: Aontas na Mac Léinn, Ollscoil Luimnigh) is the representative body for all students at the University of Limerick, situated in Limerick, Ireland


The National Institute for Higher Education (NIHE) was founded in Limerick in 1972. The 113 students who started in NIHEL, that year, founded the Students' Union, which was later to become the University of Limerick Students' Union.

In its early years, all officers served in a voluntary capacity. The first officers elected included John Redington (President), John Kerr (Vice-president), Fionnuala Lyddy (Secretary) and Eric Duhan (Treasurer). Pat Carroll was elected in 1975 as the first full-time President. The National College of Physical Eductation (NCPE), subsequently Thomond College of Education, had a separate students' union also founded in 1972 until its amalgamation with the University of Limerick. Its first President was Brendan Lillis.

From its inception in 1972, the union had been involved with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). ULSU withdrew in 1991 from USI after it decided that the national union was no longer doing what it should be doing for ordinary students on the ground. ULSU has never reaffiliated to USI, although an inquorate referendum held in 2001 on the issue indicated some support among students for such a move. The votes cast in this referendum were counted and showed that just under 55 percent of students who voted were in favour of rejoining. 66 percent in favour would have been needed to pass the referendum. The referendum did not have enough votes (only 700, changed from 20 percent to 15 percent in 2006 to be deemed valid).[1]

Additionally, the "no" campaign was essentially, "Don't bother voting", to ensure an inquorate (and therefore invalid) referendum. This may indicate that a number of those who would have voted "no" just didn't bother.

However it has, on occasion, supported campaigns organised by USI. Following moves by USI to welcome non-affiliates 'back into the fold', ULSU instituted (in 2006/07) a process of review of the non-affiliation. This was reacted to with great hostility by the union's main decision-making body, Class Representatives' Council, in early 2007, and so a proposed referendum never happened. However, sabbatical officers have continued to maintain relationships with counterparts in other unions. Non-affiliate unions are no longer able to attend Union Officer Seminar of USI.

ULSU is also one of the more active members of FUSU (Forum of University Students' Unions). FUSU recently welcomed Dublin Institute of Technology into the group in recognition of the Institute's size and similarity to a university. FUSU is not a competitor organisation for USI, rather it is more of a discussion forum and information exchange. This is particular useful for ULSU.

Sabbatical Officers[edit]

Three full-time sabbatical officers which work in the Student Union for the students of the University are elected on an annual basis.

The current officers are:

  • President- Sarah Dunphy
  • Deputy President/Welfare- Caolan O'Donnell
  • Vice President/Academic- Donal Foley

The Union represents UL Students at many fora within and external to the university. Until 06/07, ULSU had only four full-time officers - the Vice-President/Communications & Campaigns Officer position was discontinued and a new Vice-President/Publicity & Publications Officer and a Vice-President/Campaigns & Services Officer took office. In the first semester of the 2008/09 academic year the title of the Vice-President/Publicity & Publications Officer was changed to Vice-President/Communications to better reflect the role. The Union employs seven other full-time and numerous part-time members of staff and owns a company, ULSU Services Ltd., which runs the 4 Students' Union Shops on campus

An Focal and other publications[edit]

The Students' Union produces a fortnightly newspaper, An Focal. The production of An Focal was formerly the responsibility of the Vice-President/Communications Officer. Following the abolition of this office in 2012, a full-time student was appointed Editor. The Editor is assisted by an editorial team of student volunteers as well as many student contributors.

The Students' Union previously produced a glossy magazine, Pulse, containing arts and entertainment news and satire. Pulse ceased publication in 2011 as it was no longer financially viable, while its popular features were incorporated into the newly re-worked An Focal.

Student run Radio Station ULFM broadcasts from the ULSU building.

Organisation and Services[edit]

The Union also provides other services to students - graphics, Nitelink bus service, education advice, welfare advice, second-hand bookshop, phone repairs etc.

The Students' Union publishes a fortnightly newspaper, An Focal, edited by a full-time student editor.

The Students' Union in UL has two main differences from other Students' Unions.

  • It runs its own clubs and societies - these are administered through the union by and for the students.
  • It has a Postgraduate Students Association - to represent all Postgraduate Students on postgraduate issues only. The Postgraduate students elect a full-time sabbatical president for the PSA.

Clubs and Societies[edit]

Clubs are split into three categories depending on level of competition involved.[2][3]

Clubs Category A Clubs Category B Clubs Category C Societies
American Football Archery Capoeira Airsoft
Basketball Athletics Judo Anime and Manga
GAA Badminton Karate Shotokan Architecture
Ladies Hockey Boarders Skydive Choral
Ladies Rugby Chess Sub Aqua Christian Union
Men's Rugby Dance Tae Kwon Do Computer
Soccer Fencing Cumann Gaelach
Softball Handball Debating Union
Trampoline Kayak Development
Ultimate Frisbee Mountain Bike DJ
Outdoor Pursuits Drama
Rowing Enterprise and Finance
Sailing Fashion
Windsurfing Games
Ogra Fianna Fáil
Out in UL
Socialist Youth
Young Fine Gael

The following are clubs but their category is unverifiable: Fencing, Handball, Krav Maga, Parkour, Pool & Darts, Tennis, Trampoline and Waterpolo.


  1. ^ /pdfs/ULSUConstitution.pdf ULSU Constitution
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]

External links[edit]