USI’s Deputy President Cónán Ó’Broin has announced that he will step down from his position within the Union of Students in Ireland. The decision is due to a job offer made to Ó’Broin over the Christmas period that would have led to “a very serious conflict of interest,” according to USI President Gary Redmond.
Ó Broin confirmed on Sunday that he would be joining the campaign team of Labour party councillor Robert Dowds, who is standing in the general election in the Dublin Mid-West constituency. Redmond also stated: “It would be unacceptable for Cónán to continue in his current position given that he has been made an offer by a political party.”
In a speech to USI National Council on Saturday January 15th, Ó’Broin stated “this was not an easy decision for me to make,” and that it was “in order to allow USI to conduct an unquestionably impartial General Election campaign which is entirely transparent”. He added that he has “very much enjoyed my time in USI and that I am, and will continue to be, on the very best of terms with everyone who I have worked with in USI”.
Redmond praised Ó’Broin, a former Trinity Students’ Union President, for his work within USI, saying “Cónán has been a great servant to the student movement over the past 18 months, particularly for USI.” He added: “From an officer board perspective, we wish Cónán the best of luck in his future endeavours and obviously we’ll be sad to see him go.”
In light of Ó’Broin’s resignation, there are no plans for a by-election. The reasons for this are, according to Redmond: “The convention is that if you’re more than half way through the year, the position won’t be refilled.” USI Officer Board will take over Ó’Broin’s responsibilities, with Redmond appointing an officer to act as deputy in the coming days: “In the interim, I will be taking over Cónán’s campaigning brief and later this week I will appoint one member of officer board to deputise.”
In his speech, Ó’Broin praised Redmond, TCDSU President Nikolai Trigoub-Rotnem, as well as the members of National Council “for creating what has so far been one of the most active years which the student movement in Ireland has ever had”.
Redmond was keen to emphasise the workload ahead for USI, in light of the upcoming general election. He said: “USI will be having a huge campaign to represent the interests of our members encouraging our members and the general public to vote on education issues.”
Ó’Broin will step down from his position this Friday, January 21st.