Former USI President, Laura Harmon, has declared that she is running as an Independent candidate for Seanad Éireann elections. The announcement came just one day before the deadline for nominations, Thursday the 3rd of March. Harmon is running for the National University of Ireland panel, consisting of three seats. The University of Dublin (Trinity) panel also has three seats.
Harmon stated that she running on the platform of “reform” and “modern Ireland”. She expressed her views on repealing the eighth amendment and the part women have to play in pushing politics in Ireland forward.
“I believe it is now more important than ever before that young people, especially women, get involved in politics to help improve our democracy and to campaign for progressive change in our country.”
She reflected upon her time as USI President and how it has influenced her decision to run for Seanad. “During my time in USI, I came to see how archaic our voter registration system is and how many people are often disenfranchised as a result. I want to highlight the need for universal voting rights for all of our citizens and serious political reform of our parliament to make it more effective and relevant.”
Harmon, who acted as USI President for 2014-2015, played a leading role in campaigning for marriage equality as part of the marriage referendum last year. The USI ran a successful voter registration drive campaign which added 30,000 new names to the electoral register in time for May 22nd.
The UCC graduate had been involved in the USI for two years prior to her presidential role, serving as Vice-President for Equality and Citizenship from 2012-2014. No woman has been elected to the NUI panel since Gemma Hussey in 1981. Trinity College Dublin, Students’ Union President, Lynn Ruane, is also running for Seanad Éireann this year, hoping to gain a seat on the University of Dublin panel.