A motion for the UCD Students’ Union and SU Executive to support the campaign for same-sex marriage equality in Northern Ireland was passed unanimously at the most recent Student Council meeting. The motion was proposed by UCDSU Education Officer Robert Sweeney and seconded by Campaigns & Communications Officer Barry Murphy, and should be particularly focused on by the President and the Campaigns & Communication Officer.
In the agenda of the second UCDSU Council meeting, seen by the University Observer, the council noted that the mandate on marriage equality was close to expiring “at a time when not all citizens in the Island of Ireland have the right to equal marriage.” Furthermore, it was recognised that a “large majority of UCD Students support equal civil marriage” and that “the fight for an individual’s liberty should take precedence over any personal belief or view of individuals or groupings associated to [the SU] or members of the SU.” This last addition ensures that the SU can support marriage equality even if one sabbatical officer does not support it.
Additionally, the Council also mandated that an LGBT+ Pride Flag or poster declaring UCDSU’s position in relation to marriage equality be put up “in plain sight at the SU reception desk” to make the Union’s support evident. Currently there is a pride flag hanging from the SU reception desk. The SU is also mandated to work with Students’ Unions in Northern Ireland where possible to further the goal of the mandate.
Speaking to the University Observer, Engineering Student Joshua Gorman-Climax stated that “there was upset when Northern Ireland was referred to as a separate country.” It was Gorman-Climax himself who made such a suggestion. Accepting that the SU holds a ‘pro-unity’ mandate, Gorman-Climax had attempted to put a discussion on the agenda to clarify what this stance entails, however, it was removed from the agenda by the chair of the council.
Other motions included in the agenda related to replacing the “limited abortion information provided in this year’s edition of the Winging It handbook in any future similar campaigns.” This motion was proposed by Gender Equality Campaign Coordinator Sadhbh McCarrick and seconded by Stage Two Engineering Representative Paul McGoldrick.
The council noted the “disadvantage of not having comprehensive abortion information available on campus during an unplanned pregnancy” and that the “fundamental rights of the members of the UCDSU” were being restricted by the recent retraction of abortion information from the Winging It in UCD handbooks.