In an interview with the College Tribune Sean Glennon, drugstore auditor of UCD Labour, has branded the decision of SU Council not to lift the Union's condemnation of the students involved in the attempted egging of Taoiseach Enda Kenny as “disgraceful”.
“An SU should stand by its members, even when they have made mistakes. Its disgraceful that Union Council would side with a Government that has consistently attacked students and a college that has severely cut our services and quality of education over fellow students,” stated Glennon.
Glennon said that UCD Labour were disappointed that the SU decided to condemn the action and that while they disagree with the tactics used he recognised that the students were “were acting out of a genuine anger towards the Government.”
“The SU themselves should have taken the lead in protesting Enda Kenny's presence on campus as it was two weeks before students were expected to be hit again in Budget 2013. Instead they shared a platform with him and students were left to protest independently, a situation that ultimately lead to the egging,” continued Glennon.
He also revealed that UCD Labour’s Campaigns Officer is currently in touch with the three students who took part in the incident so they, UCD Labour, “can rally UCD students to stand in solidarity with the individuals involved.”
Glennon further criticised the action taken by both the SU and UCD stating that it will have an affect on future student activism. “Its clear that the University is making an example out of these students to prevent even peaceful forms of direct action protests in UCD again. The SU is always sending a message that it will not back up any student who strays away from their tactic of protesting outside of TD's empty constituency offices or tweeting abuse to the inactiv
e accounts. There was a time when UCDSU would have taken radical action to advance the welfare of students, it’s a pity they've turned their back on that.”
Regarding the Unions concentration on the Labour Party in relation to the fight against fees, Glennon voiced his opinion that the “inherent conservatism of current Student Leaders, makes a centre-left Labour Party a more comfortable target.” He conceded however that Labour must accept that they made a commitment to students and their families not to increase fees.
In relation to the current operations of the SU, the UCD Labour auditor stated, “UCDSU should function like any union, as a representative voice for students, it hasn't to date done that. They should also take a leaf out of DITSU's book, who currently work with Trade Unions through ICTU Youth promoting areas of common interest between workers and students. ICTU Youth has extended an offer to UCDSU to collaborate, but as of yet they haven't taken it up.”
Glennon also revealed that he has received abuse over the decisions of the Labour Party in government. However, he says that UCD Labour have “tried to stay loyal to Labour values even when the Party in Government hasn't, I believe this has won us a lot of support among UCD students that we aren't afraid to stand up to the Party leadership, especially when students are suffering or being targeted, we even defied the national trend to out recruit both Orga Fianna Fáil and Young Fine Gael at refreshers day, that vindicated that Labour Youth can credibly criticise the Government in our attempt to affect change from within the Party.”
The three students involved in the incident, which took place on November 29th of last year, are to have their case examined this Wednesday, February 13th.