The petition to call a referendum to impeach UCD Student Union President Katie Ascough has today reached the required number of signatures to be considered by the SU Returning Officer Stephen Devine. If the petition is accepted then under article 6.4 of the SU Constitution the Returning Officer must set the primary date of polling on a weekday in no more than 28 days from accepting the petition, and no less than 14 days from acceptance. A minimum of 10% of the membership of the Student Union must participate in this referendum for it to be valid, and a majority of those who participate must be in favour of impeachment.
Speaking to the Tribune one of the organisers of the petition Finn McLysaght (pictured above) remarked on the speed at which the petition reached the required 835 signatures, saying that by approximately 6pm on Wednesday they had achieved the required number of signatures. They said they’d received “almost no negative backlash”, and that students were “absolutely furious about student’s money being wasted for one person’s personal beliefs”. They stated that this petition was not a personal attack on President Ascough, but that “This is about the fact that our SU is not representing us and that is not democratic”.
Amy Crean another one of the organisers of the petition added that “people who were unaware of the issue were concerned that this is about Katie and about her personal views”. She stressed that this was not “about her views in a personal capacity but the fact that she did let those views affect her position when she promised not to”. She further said that the response to the petition was outstanding with over 100 people volunteering to help collect signatures in the first day.
Both McLysaght and Crean said that they would be establishing a formal committee structure for the upcoming campaign to ensure that all people involved in the campaign were involved for the same reason and not “joining with this due to their personal prejudices against Katie”. Above all they wanted this to be about her actions as President, not her as a person.
When asked about concerns by some students that this is a front for a pro-choice agenda, McLysaght stated that they “refute the idea that this is a front for a pro-choice group, or a pro-choice agenda, we’ve people from all across the agenda who are all frustrated with the democratic process and want it to be represented clearly”. The Returning Officer will assess the petition signatures on Monday and begin the process of setting a date for the vote then. An campaign against the impeachment of President Ascough will also need to be established and identified by the Returning Officer.
Aaron Bowman – Politics Editor