Damien McClean has been elected to the position of Welfare & Equality Officer for Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), defeating opponent Laura Grady on the 3rd count.
McClean, a final year Maths student, received 974 votes on the first count, which put his ahead of nearest competitor Laura Grady, who received 752. There were 103 votes to re-open nominations. Of the other candidates in the race, Rachel Skelly came third with 715, Meabh Cullen fourth with 308 and Emma Purser came fifth with 183. After the elimination of RON, Purser and Cullen in the first round, there were only 37 votes separating Skelly and Grady in second and third place respectively. With Skelly eliminated, McClean then surpassed the quota on the final count, receiving 1,342 votes in the final tally, 52.8%, compared to Grady’s 1,201 votes, 47.2%.
Speaking to Trinity News before the count, McClean said: “every single thing I think I could control, I did the best I could. As in, I was proud of my team, I was proud of the lecture addresses I was able to do, I was proud of the hustings, I was proud of our social media presence. Honest to god, every single thing I did I think I did well.”
McClean made accommodation a chief area of focus during his campaign. He told Trinity News: “I can’t solve a crisis in a month, but what I can do is plan for the long term and alleviate [some of] the stress now.” McClean plans to partner with private residences in order to reserve places specifically for Trinity students. He also wants to help students looking for accommodation pair up with other students to make the search easier. Other policies McClean had mentioned are extra-lighting and walk-home services to make students feel more safe, and to campaign for staff to receive inclusivity training.
The result was a surprise, differing from the predictions made in polls released by campus media. Grady had been predicted to prevail in the race in Trinity News’ election poll released on Monday 20 February. The poll placed Grady with 33%, with Skelly and McClean both on 19.6% respectively. Grady had been predicted to defeat Skelly on the fourth count, by a margin of 61.5% to 38.5%.
Additional reporting by Cathal Kavanagh, Niamh Moriarty, Aisling Grace, Oisín Vince Coulter, Oisin Daly, Dáire O’Driscoll, Johnny Byrne and Michael Foley.