Student unions in Ireland are facing new challenges as their membership numbers dwindle.
The number of student unions has fallen to less than a tenth of what it was in 2013.
The Student Union of Ireland (SUI) is one example of how the decline is continuing.
The union was established in 1916 as a union of students who were engaged in a student strike.
In recent years, the union has been struggling to maintain its membership, with a majority of members moving to other student organisations.
In 2017, the SUI’s national body was split.
The split meant that the union could no longer function independently, and it had to be taken over by a new national body.
The national body now has two members and is responsible for all student issues.
The student union’s national secretary, Michael Coates, said that the new national secretary will be responsible for everything that relates to student issues including the national anthem.
He said that all issues relating to student welfare will be addressed.
“I think we have to recognise that the national secretary is going to have a different role in terms of dealing with student issues,” Mr Coates said.
He added that the president of the national body, David Byrne, will take over the role of national secretary from the current president, Jim O’Sullivan.
Mr Byrne, who was elected president in November last year, said the union had been in trouble.
“The national secretary has done a good job, and we have had a good working relationship, but I think the position is still a little bit uncertain,” he said.
Mr Coles said that Mr Byrne will not be able to continue in his current role as national secretary.
“In the end, it will be a matter for the national union president, and I am not going to be able as national president to continue,” he added.
Student union figures say there is a feeling of frustration in the union, with many members moving away from the union.
“There is a sense of dissatisfaction amongst members, that it is not working,” Mr O’Brien said.
Student unions have a history of protests, with some students protesting against the introduction of tuition fees in 2017.
Student groups have been organising in protest of changes to fees.
Student protesters have also staged sit-ins in Dublin and outside the Department of Education, with the aim of stopping any cuts to higher education.
“We’ve been getting some really bad press lately, with things like the new health fee,” Mr Byrne said.
“People are very disillusioned and disillusioned.
They feel like we are not making any progress and that they are being left behind.”
Student unions are also facing new pressures.
The Irish Independent understands that there are concerns within the union that a number of senior figures, including president Michael Coats, are not fully committed to their membership.
Student organisations have been calling for the union to be abolished.
“At the moment, we are a voluntary organisation,” Mr Combs said.