UCD Students’ Union Education Vice-President, James Williamson, has issued a full apology to Donnacha Ó Súilleabháin for his criticism of his predecessor’s performance as Education Officer last year, during the last meeting of the Students’ Union Council.
Williamson heavily criticized the former Education Vice-President last year in the lead up to the sabbatical elections and questioned Ó Súilleabháin’s ability to fulfill the role. He highlighted specific parameters of the job that he felt Ó Súilleabháin was failing to perform adequately and tackled him about his perceived failure to take on any issues that Ó Súilleabháin had proposed on his manifesto.
Williamson’s criticism also covered Ó Súilleabháin organization of Science Day the issue of charity funds that went missing during his tenure.
While initially Williamson’s criticism of Ó Súilleabháin negatively impacted on their relationship, Williamson has sought to atone for his criticisms and made a full apology at the last Students’ Union Council.
Speaking to The University Observer, Williamson explained that his apology was in light of his “criticism of him [Ó Súilleabháin] and his ability as Education Officer last year” but was keen to emphasize that the apology was made to Student’s Union council in that he intended to it to solely cover criticisms relating to his role as Education Vice-President and not with regards to Science Day or any other issues:
“I do criticise him heavily on other stuff that happened last year and he still knows that. Including Science Day, but that has nothing to do with the interview or council because it’s a separate thing altogether,” explained Williamson.
As part of his criticism of his predecessor Williamson highlighted what he perceived as Ó Súilleabháin’s poor dealings with Programme Officers in the previous academic year. “I had very little dealings with Donnacha and that is weird because the Education Officer should be overseeing the Programme Officers. There was very poor contact with myself and Donnacha and the other Programme Officers last year… nobody really knew what he was doing.”
Williamson told The University Observer that he decided to issue the apology based on his experience of the role of Education Vice-President to date and that he informed Ó Súilleabháin that he was going to make an apology to him prior to the Council meeting.
He cited Ó Súilleabháín’s efforts to push through demonstrator and tutor teaching standard requirements as one of the aspects of Ó Súilleabháin’s tenure he would praise and cited what he perceives as the difficulty of his role when “it has to go through forty committees.”