Trinity College Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) has passed a number of motions at their most recent Council. One of these motions is to support the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
The motion was proposed by Ciarán O’Rourke, a PhD student from the English Department. It was put to the GSU at this evening’s council meeting. The motion read “that the GSU support the ratification of the UNCRPD without reservations or delay, and in full consultation with persons who have lived experience of disability during and after the ratification process”.
Speaking on the motion, O’Rourke said that Ireland’s signing the convention without having ratified it amounts to “lip service”. GSU President Shane Collins said that the Union would contact senators requesting that they raise the issue on behalf of the Union.
The UNCRPD would give disabled people in Ireland human rights and anti-discrimination protections under the law. This means that under the convention, universities and businesses can be held accountable for not extending services to people with disabilities.
Ireland signed the convention in 2007, but remains the only EU country not to have ratified it. It is therefore not currently legally-binding. The action comes after Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) passed the same motion earlier in the week.
The GSU also passed a motion in solidarity with staff trade unions. The motion was proposed by David Cichon, a PhD in the Sociology Department.
The motion read: “To mandate the President and Vice President to support the efforts of staff unions in all formal University and College fora. To mandate the President and Vice-President to oppose attempts to increase precarious working conditions at the University. To, where appropriate, send a representative to meetings of the staff unions.”
Speaking on the motion, Cichon said that the motion aimed at supporting staff who had entered into industrial disputes with College, most of whom are support workers.
Cichon has previously represented PhD students in negotiating an agreement with the Sociology Department to improve working conditions. The agreement introduced measures such as a limit on working hours and a system of collective bargaining.
GSU President Shane Collins expressed his support for the motion, saying that it is incredibly important for the Union to stand with the support staff.