FOLLOWING an election which saw 14 candidates contest for five Students’ Union (SU) sabbatical positions, the five newly-elected SU officers are all eagerly awaiting 1st July, the day which will see them officially take office.
Speaking to The University Observer, the five winners stated that their main objectives encompass the execution of their manifestos and continuing the fight against fees.
SU President-elect, Gary Redmond, claims that he has not yet had time to reflect on his recent win admitting, “I’m ecstatic at the moment but I really don’t think it’s sunk in yet.” The recently elected president is currently concentrating on his current role as SU Entertainments Officer and organising the UCD ball, which will take place on Friday, 24th April.
Mr Redmond feels the hard work put into his election campaign paid off and was not concerned about the extremely slight voting margin, which saw him defeat his fellow candidate, Donal Hanratty, by just 34 votes. Stating that, “a win is a win and we’ll take a win any way we can get it”, Mr Redmond is confident about his team, adding that “we’ve a really strong team there.”
Mr Redmond explained that his main objective as president is to introduce a 24 hour study facility for students and fight the possible re-introduction of third-level education fees.
The newly-elected Campaigns and Communications Officer, Paddy Ryan, described himself as “absolutely delighted about the win.” He expressed his surprise at the outcome of the election, which saw him winning with a substantial majority of votes, saying “to be quite honest I thought it would be a lot closer.”
Mr Ryan believes that “fighting [third-level education] fees is one of the more important things” in his position and believes that proper communication is paramount to getting the message across for the anti-fees campaign. He hopes to increase the efficiency of his team by delegating lecture addressing to class representatives to spread SU messages on a broader scale. “I can’t be in every single lecture theatre at once, so they need to be able to spread the message for me.” Mr Ryan expressed his great respect for the other team members and overall is “looking forward to the job.”
The recently-appointed Education Officer, Donnacha Ó Súilleabháin, “feels great” after his win. Mr Ó Súilleabháin was “pretty happy” with the voting margin adding “obviously the other two [candidates] put up a very good fight and I have great respect for them.” He expressed his eagerness to get started with his new position and has stated that he has “already started presenting a couple of mandates” for the approval of SU class representatives.
Mr Ó Súilleabháin explained that his main priority is “going to be the impending registration fee and then straight on to academic standards.” Mr Ó Súilleabháin denies that the fight against third-level education fees is the main part of his brief as SU Education Officer yet added, “I suppose that would have to be our main priority because that’s the first thing that needs to be addressed”. He is looking forward to working with his fellow sabatical officers stating “there’s a nice mix and I think everyone I will be working with is very dedicated to the job.”
Incoming Entertainments (Ents) Officer, Mike-Pat O’Donoghue described his “very experienced campaign team” as the key to his election success. Mr O’Donoghue is appreciative of the support he received during the campaign and is “very happy” with the outcome of the election. Like Mr Ryan, Mr O’Donoghue also hopes to focus on delegation and student involvement and plans to run “a getting involved initiative in the first week” of the new semester, adding “the more people you have involved, the better the events will go.”
He aspires to take his post “to the next level” and has already begun “sitting-in on different [Ents’ events] production meetings” as well as working on a sponsorship proposal for the year. Mr O’Donoghue is excited to get started on his new role stating “there’s so much scope, limitless possibilities with the Ents office.”
Incoming-Welfare Officer, Scott Ahearn, explained that he is “absolutely ecstatic” about his win. He was unaware of the final voting margin of adding “I just don’t listen to that [as] I just think it’s all about ego.” Although he is planning ahead for next year, Ahearn admitted that his “main priority right now is my degree.”
Once in office, Ahearn hopes to fulfill his manifesto in its entirety stating that “there’s no one major part of it because there are so many things to concentrate on at the one time.” He is looking forward to working with the rest of the elected SU officers, stating “if memory serves me right, I think it’s the first SU in a long time that has no Dublin person in it,” adding that “it doesn’t bother me who I work with because at the end of the day I could get on with a bag of Taytos.”
Over 5,150 students voted in this year’s SU sabbatical elections which took place on Wednesday and Thursday, 4th and 5th March.