Halls canteen was bustling with activity last night, as students clad in their Wednesday night attire traipsed downstairs in order to cast their vote in the JCR election. Running candidates were aplenty in each race, with 31 running overall; five running for the Ents officer position and as many as six candidates looking to secure the Sports officer position. Another six hopefuls ran for International officer.
The results were announced in Mother O’Reilly’s pub in Rathmines, where a crowd of prospective candidates waited in anticipation for the winner of their race to be announced. The communications officer, publications officer and tech officer races were the first positions revealed, with the decision arising out of private interviews held ahead of voting day.
Rory Saunders was the first winner to be announced, with only one other contestant providing an alternative for the role of technical officer. Outgoing officer Daragh Fogarty stated that it was a tough decision, given that both of them were capable for the task at hand.
Annie Rose was declared the JCR’s new publications officer, while Lisa Murray was chosen to fill the position of communications officer. Of the latter role, current officer Bogdan Hrechka stated that the judgement was a difficult one, due both to having to leave behind the role “to pass on the picture-taking” and because each candidate presented high-quality portfolios.
In the presidential race, Felix Gather distinguished himself with his plans to make the JCR more inclusive, proposing to create guest tickets to events for non-JCR students. However, Sara Ní Lochlainn shone through with her experience working with the Student’s Union’s Welfare committee and her commitment to “bridge the gap” between first year students and the JCR through the introduction of house reps, whose role will be to liaise between the two groups. She won her seat by a proportion of 66.7%.
Three candidates ran for the vice president and treasurer position with Joe Mangan coming first, ahead of Alec Bickerstaff and Suzannah O’Neill. Mangan, a Business and French student, emphasised his experience in budgeting and money management in his campaign, having worked as a full-time key-holder. His ideas on teaching students how to spend their money wisely, through drawing up mock budgets and holding a workshop at the start of the year, was sure to perk up a few spendthrift ears.
In the race for music officer Sam White, Muireann O’ Mahony and Alana Storm O’Sullivan provided varied and distinct manifestos prior to the race, resulting in a close first count. 451 valid voted were cast and Sam White won the role on the third count, with Mahony being the first to be eliminated. Having won the Halls Got Talent competition and Best Fresher for the Trinity Singers this year at the CSC awards, White distinguished himself from the rest far earlier on.
Laura Grant ran for the second time in order to secure her position as Secretary for the JCR, with newcomer Stefan Tonge missing out on the role in the two-man race. A tough one to beat, as she emphasised her prior experience and skills in dealing with the various administrative tasks involved in the role, specifically in dealing with the accommodation office and bus companies, with whom she has built a professional rapport.
Trish Cusack took her position as the favourite in the Ents race. Her suggestions to put emphasis on international culture nights and to vamp up the activities in the canteen prior JCR events and nights out appealed to the Halls community.
In anticipation of announcements, prospective Welfare officer James Cunningham was frank about his nerves, but stated that he would be content no matter what the outcome was: “every candidate running in each race is well-capable for the position.” Despite his modesty, Cunningham secured his position, with aims to emphasise the importance of consent and to provide more activities, centring both on serious discussion and on light-hearted entertainment, for the LGBTQ+ community in Halls.
Rob O’Donnell won the International officer position, while Caoimhe Cotter was selected to fulfil to role of Sports officer for the coming year. O’Donnell included plans to provide information on Irish culture to incoming students through “crash courses” in Irish slang and behaviours and also proposed to hold Irish language classes for any resident, while also put emphasis on expanding international celebrations such as Diwali and Chinese New Year.
Cotter’s main campaigning point centred on inclusion and making Trinity Hall residents feel at ease with the prospect of getting involved in fitness and sporting activities, with a plan to bring in introductory classes at the gym for newcomers. She has also outlined plans to set up house tournaments for those with a more competitive streak and aims to introduce a bike rental scheme.
The count was completed over the course of three hours or so, with the polls closing at 9:00pm last night, allowing one hour for Halls residents to vote. Those who couldn’t make the polling stations could apply to vote online and procedures to negate double-voting both online and at the polls were put in place, using a scanner system for each student card to recognise attempts of recasting votes.