Campaign for reproductive rights referendum

The Union of Students in Ireland will be campaigning on the upcoming reproductive rights referendum in DCU.

USI are able to campaign on campus as student Sean Rooney registered with DCU returning officer Aideen Holden on their behalf. It is a requirement in the DCU Students’ Union Electoral Committee Regulations to have a student sponsor for external groups who want to campaign on campus.

Other registered campaign groups are the Socialist Party DCU, DCU Young Fine Gael and Labour DCU. The referendum will be held on 26th and 27th February, the same dates as the USI reaffiliation referendum.

Rooney, who is also the campaign manager for USI for choice and chairperson of Labour DCU, said that both groups are campaigning for option 2, the right to abortion without limits. Asked how he thought the campaign would be received he told The College View that “this is a topic that everybody always has strong opinions on”.

Ronan Costello, Media and Communications Executive for the USI explained to The College View why they are getting involved in the issue in a currently non-affiliated college. “USI is mandated to campaign for a woman’s right to choose. We engage with campaigns of this nature wherever possible, be it in an affiliated or non-affiliated college, or in partnership with external organisations that have mobilised to promote this cause to the wider community. We are confident that DCU students will be persuaded by our stance.”

DCU Socialist Party is also campaigning for a full pro-choice stance. Chairperson Derek McKenna said they took this stance because “we believe that every women should have the right to decide what she does with her own body without the interference of the church or state”.

DCU Young Fine Gael is campaigning for option 5, a no stance. Chairperson Ryan Hunt told The College View that “we do not believe it is the place of the union [DCU Students’ Union] to take a stance on behalf of the entire student body, a body which is composed of a diversity of views on the issue”.

There will be five voting options on the ballot paper. The options will be a pro-life stance, a vote to legislate for the X-case excluding risk of suicide, a pro-choice stance, a vote to legislate for the X-case including risk of suicide and a vote for no-stance on the issue.

The voting system will be PRSTV, which is voting in order of preference.

Campaigning for the referendum began on Monday. Campaigns will have an opportunity to address voters at hustings for the referendum tomorrow.

Aisling Kett

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