jSean Ryan is a fourth year Law student who is involved with Trinity GAA. Ryan has some previous experience in the SU, in his role as a class rep and campaigning for last year’s Presidential candidate Bryan Mallon. He states, however, that while SU experience is certainly advantageous in campaigning for President it is certainly not essential. It is far more important in his opinion to have a sincere passion for helping students.
His manifesto explores the most pressing issues concerning Trinity at the moment, in particular matters relating to accommodation, higher education funding, accessibility, and accountability of SU officers. It also draws special attention to ongoing campaigns of the SU such as Repeal, removing Aramark from campus, and ongoing efforts to achieve a plastic-free Trinity.
“Obviously there are massive problems finding accommodation in Dublin,” states Ryan as he outlined his proposals to help students with this. He intends to improve accommodation advisory services by setting up an online system in order for students to be able to access the advice needed from home or if students are travelling abroad for the summer. His focus will be on helping students find accommodation with this online buddy system he will create, where Trinity students can team up in their search by matching their budgets and interests. This will be more beneficial to students than Facebook groups that already exist, he claims, as the most recently available accommodation will be listed first, and the site will be open to Trinity students exclusively. Kavanagh Court currently charges just under €1000 per month for a room and Dublin City Council have implemented a prohibition on the building of student accommodation complexes within 1km of each other. When asked if this system will help the extortionate cost of housing in Dublin, Ryan stated that his proposals are to help students of similar budgets find accommodation rather than reduce its cost.
Ryan’s participation in Bryan Mallon’s controversial campaign last year, in which many misogynistic and homophobic tweets were discovered is perhaps the biggest obstacle the candidate will have to overcome. Ryan declared that the Bryan Mallon he knew was not the same person as the one who wrote those tweets. Ryan himself never endorsed these messages and said “you cannot stand by the disgusting things written by Mr. Mallon”. Ryan’s manifesto states that he will continue to support gender equality workshops and he expressed that it is a “massive shame that there are no female presidential candidates this year”. He explained that he met with the last female SU President, Lynn Ruane, who told him that the solution to the lack of women running is to encourage more females to have the confidence to become leaders – advice he says he will take on board if elected.
Lack of transparency in Trinity is a problem of which Ryan is acutely aware of. He noted that he felt as though the administration system was the biggest failing of the college. Ryan intends to bring more clarity to the general student population about what exactly is going on in the SU by ensuring that each officer writes diary entries entailing the happenings of the week, which will be published online. Ryan hopes that this will bridge the gap between the general student population, of which only approximately 4,000 voted last year, and the SU.
Ryan aims to continue the work of existing campaigns to remove Aramark from campus, make Trinity a plastic free campus, provide more mental health support, and Repeal. He says there are no SU mandates that he disagrees with personally.
In regards to the Eighth Amendment, if repealed in May, Ryan aims to work with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) to implement student intervention in the drafting of new legislation. If it is the case that it is not repealed, however, he believes it is unrealistic to expect another referendum during his time as President, if elected.
Ryan will be voting against the introduction of supplemental fees, believing that exams induce enough stress and anxiety without introducing a financial penalty too. “I don’t feel like the college should look at students as cash cows,” he stated vehemently.
Ryan does not support the SU opt out campaign, believing that it would be impossible to monitor the services provided if implemented.
The €30,000 deficit recorded by the two years ago has been being mitigated by the profitability of Ents, resulting in a deficit reduction of €15,000 last year. When asked if he expects to balance the books this year Ryan said that no one can be sure of it and we “have to wait and see”. His proposals, he continues, are simple but effective. His ideas are all inexpensive, he states, and he most certainly has high hopes for the budget.
Accessibility is one of the most important elements of Ryan’s campaign. He intends to promote College Awareness Week, a week in which alumni of the Trinity Access Programme return to talk about their experiences and hopefully inspire those who would not have previously considered coming to Trinity.
When asked why he was running for this prestigious role, Ryan answered jovially that: “Honestly, coming to Trinity has been the best time, the best years of my life. I want to create an environment on campus where students can get on academically and socially and have as good of a college experience as they can.”