DCU Labour defend USI campaign presence

The Labour DCU Chairperson and USI representative on campus has defended the USI’s controversial presence on campus during the re-affiliation referendum campaign.

Sean Rooney told The College View a lot was made of the fact outside bodies were allowed on campus after the result was announced.

However Rooney defended the Union of Students in Ireland, saying students couldn’t vote for the USI until they spoke to those involved. “How can you expect students to vote for USI when they can’t see what USI is?” he said.

Rooney told The College View: “I think it’s now up to everybody to say right, we’re in it now for at least 12 months, let’s go out there and make the most of it and respect the decisions students made.”

He commended DCU Young Fine Gael Chairperson, Ryan Hunt for accepting the result, despite losing. “It was a credit to Ryan. He stood up and said ‘the result didn’t go our way but we respect that that’s the decision students made’. I would like to think that I would have done the same if it had gone the other way.”

Commenting on the low turnout in the referendum, Rooney said a lot is being made of the turnout since the result was announced but added: “I’m not sure what to make of it to be honest. There was, say for the sake of argument, about 1,500 votes. That is only marginally less than SU elections. So it’s on par with what you’d expect here in DCU.”

The close result means the USI will have to come to DCU and sell it to the large minority against the organisation, according to Rooney. “LGBTA will be able to send as many people as they want to pink training next year, there will be an Irish officer for An Cumann Gaelach; I think a lot of people will come around when they see the tangible benefits of membership.”

Now that DCU is to affiliate to the USI, Rooney told The College View there is a number of formalities that have to take place. “I have a vague idea of the process that comes now. There’s a number of things such as DCU have to submit their constitution to the USI and affiliation has to be ratified by congress.”

Aoife Mullen

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