Finn McLysaght and Sadhbh MacLochlainn, members of the Impeach UCDSU President/ Yes Campaign have responded to the open letter that Ms Ascough wrote on Wednesday. In the letter she claimed there were “bullying tactics” were being used by “of a group of students to try and discard a democratically elected SU president.”
Speaking to the Tribune, McLysaght said “We thought it was implying that the collective campaign was bullying her. We found it kind of strange to imply that the 1,200 students who signed this petition to call for her impeachment are bullies. We think it’s her attempt to delegitimise the campaign but this is a legitimate campaign. It has more supporters than people who voted for her so we found it quite strange, dishonest and disingenuous”. He added “We condemn any bullying and abuse thrown at her personally because that’s abhorrent and not what the campaign is for. We’re not targeting Katie personally, we’re initiating democratic process for better representation and for fair representation.’
Ms Ascough has also claimed that “Since the day I was elected, before I’d been put in office, some students were already calling for my impeachment.” Ms MacLochlainn dismissed these claims saying “I think it’s quite clear from our campaign, when we started we had very specific reasons and we gave the UCDSU President a chance.We didn’t jump straight into an impeachment either, we approached her and tried to discuss the issue and she refused to engage with it.”
“‘If there were a handful of students who expressed interested in impeachment from the day of her election, that could be cause for concern but it could also be foreshadowing because obviously there is cause for impeachment now and that does legitimise the concerns that would have been raised at the time.” McLysaght added.
McLysaght has also criticised Ms Ascough’s failure to address students before the impeachment referendum was calling saying “She failed to make any statements to any media, she failed to make a statement to students she supposedly represents as the head of the Union, she wasn’t engaging with us which was troublesome and that’s one of the steps that led to impeachment”.
In her open letter Ms Ascough claims “The call for my impeachment is without legitimate cause, and in calling an impeachment referendum they are using your time, your Union’s time (which you pay for), and thousands of euro (which you also pay for) in calling for the impeachment referendum”. Both Ms MacLochlainn and McLysaght deny that the referendum is a waste of money saying “We believe the initial waste of money was the €7,000-€8,000 that was wasted in reprinting the books. If students didn’t want this to go ahead we wouldn’t have gotten the signatures and it wouldn’t be happening. This is a democratic process, the students have asked for this.”
McLysaght also pointed out that Ms Ascough herself was part of a referendum campaign last year saying “She obviously at some point recognised that referenda are important tools and an important part of student politics so it’s quite worrisome that she would campaign for one a year ago and now for some reason they’ve become illegitimate or invalid or a waste of money.”
“Any sort of engagement with SU politics, any sort of fight for proper representation and fair democracy is a worthwhile use of money and time. It’s engagement with the SU which supposedly Katie stands for, bridging the gap and unlocking the SU which is also what we’re trying to do.”
The impeachment referendum will take place on October 25th and 26th. In order for it to be valid, between around 2,500 students will have to vote. If Ms Ascough is to be impeached, a majority of that quorum must vote in favour of the referendum.
Rachel O’Neill – Editor