Candidates for the Sabbatical Officer positions debated this afternoon in the SU Hustings hosted by the SU in the student centre.
The candidates in the running for the position of Campaigns and Communications Officer – James Atkinson, ask Karl Gill, Paddy Guiney, and Aisling Sheerin – focused on the way in which the Union communicates with its members, and in particular, on how to increase student awareness of who the C&C officer is. They were asked why self-promotion was essentially put ahead of other campaigns with the candidates responding en mass that they felt that students needed to learn who their representatives are for campaigns to be successful.
Gill stated that while he was proud to be a member of the Socialists’ Workers Party, other candidates should be questioned on their political affiliations. Sheerin countered that she was not interested in becoming a politician while Guiney and Atkinson remained silent of that issue. Following the debate, Lacey joked that it was the first time he’d been present at a Campaigns and Communications debate which did not involve the subject of fees.
Welfare candidates, Micheál Gallagher and Enda Conway, were the next set to take the floor. Gallagher pointed out that his work over the previous three years on Welfare Crew meant he understood the intricacies of the job while Conway stated that he had life experience which would make him a more approachable officer.
Gallagher argued that Conway’s plans to visit every student on Residences for 20 minutes was unfeasible, his opponent countered that it had been done before by a previous Welfare Officer.
Current SU President Pat de Brún then addressed the crowd regarding positive changes of the proposed Constitution which will be voted upon on the same days as the Sabbatical Officer elections. Questions from the audience largely focused on the removal of the Ents Officer and the creation of an Ents Manager. De Brún also addressed queries regarding the payment of Conveners. The President did not mention anything largely different from that which he previously stated on the issues.
Sole Presidential candidate Rachel Breslin dealt with questions regarding the Constitution, the SU debt and the referendum on UCDSU’s stance on fees. Her Union colleague, de Brún, stated that the referendum would be consultative in that students had the opportunity to choose from a number of options. He asked Breslin if this would affect the Union’s outlook. She stated that ultimately, it would be the top choice, but she would also look at the second choice to see if that was a feasible second option.
Breslin also stated that the candidates for C&C had great ideas regarding the Union communicating with its members but she also wanted to have more open meetings. She told Lacey that everything in her manifesto was achievable.
Eoin Heffernan, the only candidate for the position of Entertainment Vice-President, spoke for a short time about his plans for next year if elected. He told the listening students that he wanted to bring them to international music festivals such as I Love Techno. Heffernan also referenced the popular “Twisted Tuesdays” night in DCU student bar as an example of how to bring ‘craic back on campus’.
The final debate, and possibly the most heated, took place between Sam Geoghegan and Shane Comer, two of the students running for the position of Student Union’s Education Officer. The third candidate, Patrick Wolohan was unable to attend.
Comer and Geoghegan took the opportunity to point out weaknesses in each other’s manifestos; Comer stating that some of Geoghegan’s achievements as current Education officer were embellished such as the statement that he ‘oversaw’ the switch to g-mail. Geoghegan argued that Comer’s ideas were not researched and not feasible.
Organiser of today’s hustings, Brendan Lacey, stated to the College Tribune that he thought it went well. He joked that “obviously i enjoyed the C&C one with a bit of extra gusto ‘cause they’re all telling me why I’m crap.” Lacey mentioned that it was a long time since the SU had hosted their own hustings and he felt that it was great to do it again, “it was productive … we got to some students [who weren’t on campaign teams] …get the teeth out a little bit!”
AND there’s more!
Check out our video of the poster race last Saturday
Now have a read of the reports on each candidate and decide who you want to represent you next year: