Candidates will need to give it their all to impress at the final hustings of the campaign

Media and Equality hustings scrutinised candidates on the finer details of their campaigns

As the first week of campaigning came to a close, sabbatical officer candidates were afforded the opportunity to explore their manifesto points in depth at Thursday’s Media hustings and Friday’s Equality hustings. While Ents candidates and the sole Comms candidate have all performed consistently well, the differing approaches and experience of the three president candidates was brought to the fore. This evening, as candidates face into the final hustings, there are still votes to play for.

Keogh’s strong performances have clearly paid off, as she is polled to win by a wide margin of almost 70%.

Keogh and Cummins both performed strongly on Thursday and Friday, discussing anti-racism, the inaccessibility of House 6, and LGBT rights. When questioned on inclusion of ethnic minorities, Keogh spoke of her desire for a prayer space in the Arts Building, while Cummins was well prepared with an answer about the importance of student activism. MacQuillan fell down with a vague answer on promoting learning about different cultures, and later stumbled when he advocated the retirement of the word “disability”, a position which is not shared by most students with a disability, although was able to draw on his experience outside the union to touch on ideas that were missed by his fellow candidates at other times. While Cummins recovered well from his shaky performance at Council hustings, Keogh’s consistent answers and experience have clearly paid off, as she is polled to win by a wide margin of almost 70%. 

Both Bev Genockey and Daniel O’Reilly performed well across the two hustings, although O’Reilly’s faltered when pushed on the practicality of his “walk a module in their shoes” idea in which College staff sit in on lectures and complete assignments to gain a better understanding of online learning. O’Reilly remained vague, saying “the interest is there,” sowing doubt in how practical this policy would be when rolled out on a large scale basis. While both candidates have a wealth of experience in Diversity in STEM, and answered well when questioned on LGBT issues, the polls predict a comfortable win for Genockey among voters that are already decided, but with many still to make up their minds, O’Reilly is not out of the race yet.

Mueller-Owens was strong at both Media and Equality hustings, giving an impressive answer on the importance of anti-racism, praising the establishment of the Black studies module, and emphasising her opposition to the 27th amendment. This again demonstrated her capability of balancing individual advocacy with awareness of broader social issues, reflected in her lead in the poll. Both hustings saw Krug often repeating himself with regards to his “what do I do now documents,” and falling down when questioned on the lack of provisions for disabled students in his manifesto. When pushed on this by TCDSU Officer for Students with Disabilities Niamh Herbert, he attributed this to not wanting to “claim to appropriately represent or know the needs of disabled students” – a weak answer which is unbecoming of someone whose duty it would be to promote the welfare of all students in the College. 

Throughout hustings, Brady balanced creativity with practicality when discussing the coming term, which may have given her a leg-up among more pragmatic voters, reflected in her significant lead in the polls. 

Greg Arrowsmith and Antonia Brady differed on prospective provost Jane Ohlmeyer’s promise of two Trinity Balls in 2022 if she wins the provost election. Arrowsmith emphasised his experience in pulling off large scale events in short periods of time, while Brady pointed out the extensive planning necessary to hold Trinity Ball, saying she didn’t want to make a promise she couldn’t keep. While both candidates performed well when questioned on accessibility, practicality has established Brady as the stronger candidate. On top of his promise of two Trinity Balls, Arrowsmith also advocated the Pav reopening with table service, saying that spreading onto the cricket pitch wouldn’t be an issue. Although he claimed that if College can provide large marquees for studying, they can do so for the Pav, College may be more reluctant to facilitate student drinking to the same degree as they have study spaces. Given the volatile nature of the Covid-19 situation and the slow vaccine rollout, Arrowsmith’s promises may be unachievable for reasons outside of his control. Throughout hustings, Brady balanced creativity with practicality when discussing the coming term, which may have given her a leg-up among more pragmatic voters, reflected in her significant lead in the polls.  

 While Emer Moreau gave one of her less confident performances at Media hustings when questioned on the feasibility of Zoom social events and her plans to support journalists from ethnic minority groups, she made an impressive comeback at Equality hustings. Moreau was one of the few candidates who made an effort to answer questions from Oifigeach na Gaeilge, Gretchen Nic Sheanloich in Irish. Peter Caddle did not attend Equality hustings. A statement on his campaign social media claimed his campaign had become about “appeasing the SU niche,” and in not attending, he would instead focus on “producing…content for those students so often ignored during campaigning.” This followed Caddle’s performance at Media hustings, where he was grilled on his attitude towards women following a question from a female member of UT staff who said that she would feel uncomfortable working with him due to his history of sexist comments. Caddle dismissed this and refused to directly address the discomfort the woman said she would feel under his editorship. When questioned on the fact that he referred to non-binary people as ““horrid creatures who should be avoided,” Caddle  turned the question back on current editor, Cormac Watson. “Do you think that is any way an honest representation of what I’ve written?” he asked, implying that verbatim quotes from his own articles were somehow a mischaracterisation of his work.  Despite his evident disdain for the current staff of UT, Caddle claimed, when asked how he would expand the papers’ coverage of societies and sports clubs, that he would need to “heavily rely” on the existing staff, as he is an outsider to the paper. 

 Whether Caddle’s campaign has merely been a bid for attention or motivated by a genuine desire to edit UT,  Moreau is set for a comfortable win with a polled 87.14 % of votes, meaning Caddle’s desire to shake up student politics with his provocateur outsider status has evidently been unsuccessful. As such, a pledge to hand over the accommodation he would receive as a sabbatical officer to an asylum seeker seems unsurprisingly unlikely to materialise. 

 Media hustings saw another impressive performance from Aoife Cronin. Despite running uncontested, it is clear that Cronin is not taking anything for granted with well prepared answers and a detailed plan for sponsorship. Equality Hustings proved more difficult when she was pushed on the incomplete accessibility of her manifesto. Offering a sincere apology and pledging to work more closely with Ability Co-Op and the TCDSU Officer for Students with Disabilities, Cronin returned to steady ground and delivered several solid answers when questioned on ISL interpretation and the promotion of Irish. 

While nothing is set in stone, candidates have only two days left to campaign, and few races polled are particularly tight. 

Media and Equality hustings afforded the candidates an opportunity to explore the finer points of their manifesto, which allowed some to shine where others stumbled. While nothing is set in stone, candidates have only a handful of days left to campaign, and some races polled are particularly tight.   


Grace Gageby

Grace Gageby is the current Assistant Editor of Trinity News. She studies English and Philosophy and was previously Deputy Comment Editor.