The University Observer understands that Students’ Union (UCDSU) Education Officer, James Williamson, intends to contest the position of Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Education Officer.
The decision comes after delegates voted to re-open nominations for the position at the National Congress held in Dunboyne earlier this month. Should he be elected, Williamson will be the fifth UCDSU representative elected to the six-member USI National Council for 2011-2012.
“At this stage I’m 99 per cent sure that I am going to be contesting the election,” Williamson stated. “It’s the early stages yet, the nominations don’t open for a few weeks,” he added, “so I have a bit of time to get stuff together and I’m going to use the next two weeks to come up with my plan for the year.”
Williamson indicated that support for smaller colleges, increased national interaction, the preservation of quality assurance and the development of funding models for the institutions would be amongst his priorities should he be elected.
Former UCDSU Irish Officer, Aoife Nic Shamhráin, is considering contesting the part-time position of USI Irish Officer. “I’m trying to find information about it and trying to see whether it’s the best option for me and whether I could do the best job,” she said. “I’ll be leaving the Irish Scéim next year so I’d like to continue promoting the Irish language and doing my best for Irish.”
These announcements come following a particularly successful National Congress in which UCD delegates were elected to four of the six positions on National Council.
Former UCDSU President Gary Redmond was elected to the Presidency of USI for a second consecutive term, recording a landslide victory of 92 per cent.
UCDSU Welfare Officer, Scott Ahearn, was elected USI Welfare Officer. He believed that the experience gained in his position as Welfare Officer over the past two years and his successes with national campaigns such as Please Talk were key to electoral success. “It’s a great honour,” Ahearn stated: “I want to do things for students, I want to do things for [Constituent Officers], I want to do things for national policy.”
UCDSU delegate and USI Disability Rights Officer Ger Gallagher was elected to the position of USI Equality Officer. “One thing which I hope to bring is visibility to the Equality campaign,” Gallagher explained. “I’ve been on the USI Equality working group for the past year [and] I can continue with the progress that we’ve made.”
Former UCD LGBT Auditor Siobhán McGuire was also elected to National Council in the position of USI LGBT Rights Officer.
The position of Deputy President was filled by former Waterford IT Student and incumbent USI Education Officer Colm Murphy, who currently remains the only 2011-2012 National Council member without UCDSU affiliation.
“I think it shows that we’re producing a very high calibre of officers in UCD,” Gallagher said of the success of UCDSU candidates. Ahearn stated, “I think it’s a credit to UCDSU’s officers for their interest and the importance in which they hold national issues”.
The remaining USI positions will be decided at National Congress in Maynooth this May.
(University Observer, March 2011)