On Monday night it was announced that three sabbatical officers would be taking leave to campaign for the impeachment of UCDSU President Katie Ascough. Those sabbatical officers are Education Officer Robert Sweeney, Graduate Officer Niall Torris, and Campaigns and Communications Officer Barry Murphy. It was announced that they had the full support of the remaining sabbatical officer Welfare Officer Eoghan MacDomhnaill who would not be taking leave so he could continue dealing with student welfare cases.
At council on Monday night, they announced their decision to the executive who agreed to their leave.
Following council, public statements were made on Facebook by Murphy and Torris outlining the reasons why they made the decision to take leave and campaign for impeachment. Sweeney gave a statement to the University Observer on Monday and made a public statement on Facebook on Tuesday evening.
On Tuesday morning, Murphy and Torris gave lecture addresses encouraging students to vote yes to impeach Ascough. Also on Tuesday morning, a complaint was lodged against the sabbatical officers taking leave to the Returning Officer, citing article 10.2.4 of the UCDSU constitution. Article 10.2.4 states “Requests for holiday entitlements must be approved by the President at least one week in advance. In the case of the President approval must be sought from the executive.”
Murphy and Torris ceased canvassing when they were informed of the complaint which had been upheld. They returned to their offices and lodged an appeal against the decision. It was noted that the sabbatical officers had the support of the executive for taking leave, and in lodging their appeal.
In an email seen by the University Observer a decision was made by IADB to reject the appeal.
In their appeal, the sabbatical officers outlined reasons why they believed the decision was unfair. They maintained Ascough had taken leave and begun campaigning the following day, and also that they had the support of the executive. Additionally, they requested taking unpaid leave in order to campaign.
In the email rejecting the appeal, IADB explains that Ascough applied to take leave to the executive on October 3rd, she did not take leave until the referendum was announced on October 10th. The appellants were informed that they could have applied for leave on any day between October 3rd and October 17th, which would have allowed a week’s notice before campaigning, but that they chose not to do so.
The University Observer have been told that after Ascough applied for leave on October 3rd she took half days during that week to prepare her campaign.
IADB said the constitution does not differentiate between paid and unpaid leave and so one week’s notice would still be required for unpaid leave.
In the email, the officers are also told that if they took bona fide sick leave they would be required to be off campus and would still be unable to campaign.
In a public statement, Torris said “Apologies from myself and Barry. We won’t see you at lectures or polling today as our leave has been cancelled. IADB over-ruled the Executive’s decision as is their right by the constitution. OUR views remain the same and PLEASE #VoteYES, but we must now refrain from commenting…”
Voting in the impeachment referendum takes place today and tomorrow, October 25th and 26th.