Sinead Baker was first to take to the stage. She said that she got involved in UT because she “loves this college and wants to publicise everything that happens in it”, and highlighted her experience in UT as current deputy editor and previously held positions. Apart from a question inquiring into her experience for the role, no other questions were asked of her.
Katie Browne, or Katie B, was the first to take to the stage for the Ents race, saying that the while the requirements for being a good Ents officer means “being good banter … it takes a bit more than that too”. Among Browne’s ideas is the notion of an expanded Christmas Day with markets and knitting workshops, alongside a Trinity Exhibition
Grace O’Boyle was the second candidate to take to the stage. O’Boyle is a third year History of Art and Architecture and Sociology Student at Trinity College Dublin. She outlined her plan for an Ents event to take place for after Christmas exams, alongside the desire to introduce a festival for rural students who are in Trinity.
Caolan Maher had a different feel to his speech, pacing the steps and repeating a mantra of the events which are taking place this week, including his efforts to bring Irish to the forefront of the student body. He criticised that which is lacking in Ents, saying “everyone wants something different, and that’s what we need to do”. He ended his speech with a declaration that “there is only one Trinity College” as his time ran out.
Padraic Rowley cited his experience with societies and clubs, saying that he’d love to give everyone else the chance to get involved in College by developing an app which informs students. He outlined his desire to get more live music on campus, showing his love for everything from punk rock to EDM. A question from a member of his campaign team prompted Rowley to talk about the bigger events he has done on campus.
Communications and Marketing
Emmet Broaders was the first C&M candidate to take to the stage. Broaders is in his third year of a computer science degree. He was the technical officer with Trinity Hall JCR last year. Broaders is also a member of DU Computer Science Society (DUCSS). He began by expressing his desire to live stream council and introduce video to the position of communications. He also talked about a plan to bring in a forum like boards.ie, “but for Trinity so it’s not shite”. He also wants to change the way marketing is done for the SU.
The second candidate, Glen Byrne, began by out lining his PRO experience with societies and bodies off campus. He wants to create more accountability for elected candidates, by creating an online feedback system with a thumbs up or thumbs down on motions at council. He also said he wanted to diversify the current revenue stream for the SU, so as not to focus on one particular area. A question from the audience prompted Byrne to talk about issues like the accommodation crisis and explain his plans with daft.ie.
Tom McHugh could not make it to the hustings, so Aoibhinn Ni Lochlainn was first to speak. Aoibhinn Ní Lochlainn is a third year medical student. She is a head mentor with S2S, welfare volunteer coordinator in the SU, and was secretary of Trinity’s TradSoc last year, which saw the society win “Most Improved” society at the CSC Society of the Year Awards. She plays the fiddle and has a history of being involved in fundraising in college, participating in Jailbreak last year. She was also a member of Doctors for Yes for the Marriage Equality Referendum 2015. She described herself as the candidate with the experience to run the office next year. As a coordinator with the welfare office, Ni Lochlainn says that her priorities are support for those who need it and access for all. Her position as an S2S mentor is what would give her the ability to manage large groups and have an open door.
Eamonn Redmond was next up. Last year, he co-organised and led the society’s annual fundraising hike of the Camino de Santiago in February, having walked it the previous year as well. Redmond has also been heavily involved in the annual VDP pantomime for the past two years. He has served as an SU class representative for a number of years and was also previously the SU school convener for social work and social policy. He outlined the four pillars to his manifesto – increased visibility off campus, exam well-being week, legal and financial aid Responding to a question on his course of study, he explained that studying social work makes him able to listen and guide people to different services.
Andrew Wafer was the final welfare candidate, a third year PPS student. He said that College is changing a lot, referring to rent costs and fees, saying that for next year he wants to be a “set of ears on campus”, who could listen to any kind of issues people have, and transfer that into a voice. He also expressed a desire to improve welfare services for students on Erasmus, and said that accommodation is a major priority for him.
The first speaker for education was Patrick Higgins. Higgins is a third year history and political science student. He has previously worked for Trinity News as a staff writer and later held the role of online news editor with the paper. He said that as a student with dyspraxia, he wants to bring the role back to basics to help students who are struggling. The three priorities for his campaign are to get College to make the most of online facilities for those who can’t get to classes. He wants to improve the process for applying for Erasmus, and thirdly improve the study spaces in College by turning attention to the Hamilton Library and off-campus services.
Dale O’Faoilléacháin was the second education candidate on the steps. He is the current health sciences convener in the SU. In addition, he sits on the SU’s education committee. In his senior freshman year, he was the SU’s school of medicine convener and the sports officer at Trinity Hall JCR. He says that as a health student he knows what it feels like to be forgotten about by the SU. His said that his manifesto focuses on student partnership and broadening education. He also spoke of the need to develop support services such as the library and improve accountability, expressing a desire to make sure candidates stick to their promises when elected.
Finally, Nick Spare spoke, focusing on how many students do not really know what the education officer is meant to do, expressing a desire to get students informed. He expressed his intention to use his law background to improve the exams and appeals process for students to make sure none of them fall through the cracks. Responding to a question from the audience on the Trinity Education Project, Spare said that he had a one on one meeting with the director of the project, and spoke of how he intends to hold a series of forums on the process.
Stephen Carty was the first presidential candidate to take to the stage, saying that his run is driven by a desire to see things run better. He said he fet strongly about College inefficiency, saying College is wasting money. “We have to mobilise and get things done, because we do not have to accept the status quo”, he said. Responding to a question on the divestment campaign, Carty spoke of the mandate that the SU president has to lead the campaign. He spoke of a point on the environment on his manifesto, but admitted he would have to educate himself more on the issue. He ended by saying mobilisation would result in change with the current situation with divestment.
Kieran McNulty opened by saying the SU is not living up to its full potential, saying it’s closed off to a lot of students and describing his desire to “knock down doors” in Leinster House and College to get proper student accommodation and tuition. He spoke of his work proposing consent workshops and bringing politicians to campus. He wants to start a process resulting in a student centre, and was the only presidential candidate to mention the mandate that the SU has to repeal the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution.
The final speaker during the Dining Hall hustings was Dan O’Brien. Dan spoke of his brother’s decision to come to Trinity and how he told him how college has been declining since he has been a student. He said that student services slip when the best people in college know how to make a difference but leave college looking to their own futures. He said that his experience with UT means he can open up the SU to students, saying that “I’ve been communicating these developments to people for three years”.
Photo by Conn de Barra