Despite having little involvement with the SU before taking on the role of Engineering and Architecture convenor this year, Cian Byrne feels that he is entirely suited to the newly reinstated position of Campaigns and Communications Officer.
A third year Electronic Engineering student, though Byrne has previously been involved with UCDVO and their work in Tanzania, he mentioned that through his role, he was surprised to find the extent of the work that the SU undertakes, specifically mentioning that this work is sorely underrepresented on campus.
With regard to engaging students Byrne refers to his work as convenor, stating that before he took on the role the work of the SU was little known but that recently “every first year is talking about how they want to be convenor:” When questioned as to the nature of the Union’s work, Byrne was quick to emphasise that the SU’s work was ”top notch” and that “no-one could fault the work that goes on, it’s just getting away from the mentality that it’s just SU people.”
Byrne appears to be comfortable in his manifesto and when questioned on potential issues such as the relationship a C&C officer will share with current communications and research assistant Brian Mahon he foresees no issues, stating that he sees himself as “the face or the personality that everyone sees” and that it will be the elected officer rather than the appointee who will dictate policy for the office.
Though the office was abolished in 2012 as a result of its being perceived as ineffective, Byrne feels that there is considerable value in reinstating the position. When questioned on the possibility of establishing long term campaigns and working with bodies outside of other Students’ Unions and the USI, Byrne mentioned that “anyone that’s willing to work with you is your friend and that you need to take on board everything.”
Through his time as convenor, Byrne would appear to have amassed a considerable knowledge of both how the SU itself functions and the impact which University rules and regulations would have on both his and others’ abilities to carry out their work. It is in this regard that Byrne feels he stands out, stating that he “has done the research in that sense.” and that, citing the example of healthy eating options on campus, “the fact that people are asking questions and don’t have an answer is a problem”
Adding to this, Byrne stated that where possible, if something were to prove entirely unfeasible, he as C&C would inform the student body rather than leaving people in the dark on such matters. He also feels that with regard to budgetary issues, communications may be undertaken with relatively little cost but that campaigns will be a bigger draw. These funds however will be allocated by the president, to whom Byrne intends to fight his case as to what he will need.
Byrne makes convincing case for his election, though the realities of the office may prove difficult if he were to make the jump from faculty to University. It remains to be seen if he can follow up his manifesto with the necessary action.