UCD Students’ Union Education Officer Donnacha Ó Súilleabháin has come under fire from a Science class rep who campaigned for his election last year. Noel Doyle, a second year class rep, claims that Ó Súilleabháin has failed to deliver on the bulk of the promises contained in his election manifesto.
Doyle attacked Ó Súilleabháin at an SU Council meeting last Monday, 8th February, as Ó Súilleabháin delivered his fortnightly report to the meeting. Reading aloud from a copy of Ó Súilleabháin’s election manifesto, Doyle heavily criticised the Education Officer for his failure to implement many of his election promises, specifically identifiying the issues of resit fees and proper tutor and demonstrator training, which featured significantly in Ó Súilleabháin’s manifesto.
Doyle told Ó Súilleabháin that he and the other students who had campaigned for him felt that Ó Súilleabháin had betrayed their trust, and asked whether Ó Súilleabháin “would be lying to us again,” referring to Ó Súilleabháin’s intention to seek election to the position of President at next month’s elections. Ó Súilleabháin has since withdrawn his interest in the position.
When contacted by The University Observer following the meeting, Doyle declined to comment further on what he had said, saying that his comments “speak for themselves.”
Ó Súilleabháin declined to comment on the questions and allegations specifically, but stated that he and the other sabbatical officers “welcome questions at Council,” and that each officer prepared reports for each meeting in order to facilitate this. Ó Súilleabháin defended his work rate and told The University Observer that he is “proud of my work for the year.”
Ó Súilleabháin also faced criticism from Arts Programme Officer Jonny Cosgrove, who criticised him for his failure to attend to a meeting of SU Executive.
It is unclear whether the combined criticisms from a number of representatives were a factor in Ó Súilleabháin’s decision not to seek election to the position of SU President, leaving Paul Lynam unopposed for the role. Three people are running to succeed him: Science Programme Officer James Williamson, Law postgraduate student Lisa Henry, and second year Law student John Logue.
Ó Súilleabháin will remain as Education Officer until his successor takes office on 1st July 2010. However, The University Observer understands that Ó Súilleabháin now intends to seek election to the position of Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Education Officer, which would require him to take another sabbatical year from his Neuroscience degree.