The “Bully” blocker: Christine O’Mahony claims DCUSU colleagues bullied her

Muiris O'Cearbhaill

VP for Diversity & Inclusion, Christine O'Mahony, claims she was the subject of bullying from her colleagues in DCUSU.

DCUSU VP for Diversity and Inclusion, Christine O’Mahony, is no stranger to junior level politics. As a graduate from Dublin City University, Maynooth University and University College Dublin, she has had many roles in various organisations with a strong influence to serve and protect minorities in student life.

The 24-year-old had one of the most successful and effective terms in the VP for Diversity and Inclusion role that the university has seen in a number of years. It became clear her focus was on representing the many cultures that are on DCU campuses.

O’Mahony did not run for re-election in the 2023 DCUSU Elections and instead announced her campaign to run on a national level in the Union for Students in Ireland.

As a VP for Diversity and Inclusion, she started many cultural weeks, to create an inclusive environment on campus to much avail. Guests such as RTÉ presenter and activist, Emer O’Neill, and Miss Ireland 2021, Pamela Uba, visited the campus over the last academic year to take part in the events the VP organised.

With a long wrap sheet as a student politician, as a member of Sinn Féin, Social Democrats, and on both Maynooth University and DCU’s Students’ Unions, a trend of behaviour from the capable representative emerges.

Before the recent elections in DCU, O’Mahony made claims to The College View and on her own social media accounts that she was the subject of bullying during her time on the DCUSU. 

O’Mahony told The College View that the work she had completed this year was done all on her own, without the support of the other Sabbats on the SU team. 

O’Mahony said, “Thomas O’Dowd, never supervised any of my events, never helped out at any of my events and he was never present at any of my events…”

Thomas O’Dowd told The College View “I would like to highlight that in every Campaign Week the team come together and work collaboratively. This was the case in Campaign Weeks such as Black History Week, Arab Culture Week and Rainbow Week. Each member takes elements of work for campaigns such as event organisation, providing technical support at events to providing food and refreshments.”

According to a source close to the DCUSU, O’Mahony had declined when asked if she would require any help organising and running the events at the beginning of the year. 

The source said O’Mahony told the rest of the team that it was her responsibility to take charge of the events independently, as the only representative for minorities and person of colour in the Union. O’Mahony asked for assistance only after the fact, said the source.

O’Mahony said VP for Academic Life and Deputy President of DCUSU, Eoin Crossen, also did not attend her Arab Culture Week event while sitting in as President last November. After this, O’Mahony contacted the Office of Student Life to request a formal complaint be made, according to her this request went ignored. 

According to many sources within the SU, including Crossen himself, this was the point where a severe lack of communication began between the DCUSU and O’Mahony, as she blocked many Sabbats and Officers on social media.

O’Mahony says she made a second formal complaint about Crossen, claiming her fellow VP was bullying her. According to O’Mahony, an investigation found that Crossen spoke about her to other members of the SU, because he “didn’t like [O’Mahony’s] agenda,”

Crossen told The College View that there was an investigation into the bullying allegations, which were not upheld and didn’t go any further. 

O’Mahony spoke about this investigation in a LinkedIn Post at the end of semester one, the VP said “I am proud of myself for getting through this year after I was left to do all my events by myself, while at the same time having to deal with a bullying case where it was found that the conduct of the accused was ‘an affront to my dignity at work’, attending multiple therapy sessions throughout the year, while my mental health was on the decline.

“… I don’t think it is right to tell white lies and deceive people into believing that my job is full of sunshine and rainbows.”

Regardless of the decision, O’Mahony said she was going to “stay put” for semester two after “the relief I felt reading the outcome of my formal complaint” motivated her to stay on the team longer. 

Finishing her post, O’Mahony said she wanted to “…offer solutions so that we can work effectively as a team. Because there is no I in Team.”

Crossen said that he did speak about O’Mahony during the time period but while having a “constructive conversation” about each member of the SU’s role, including his own.

According to the source in DCUSU, someone who was a part of this conversation had told O’Mahony about what the others were saying, without contextualising the situation first.

O’Mahony posted on Twitter, in October 2022, two months into the job, that she was “being bullied by two men” in her workplace. The VP claims Crossen called her an “attention seeker” and that she was using her role as VP to “further her status,”

Crossen told The College View that those claims were untrue, adding he hasn’t seen any of these posts as O’Mahony has “blocked me on everything” and was unable to give a reason as to why O’Mahony has decided to do so.

O’Mahony said, “My team could not have cared less about minorities,” and that while she didn’t care who won the elections at the time as she did not “support Eoin’s campaign as he was my bully”, claims which Crossen declines.

Thomas O’Dowd said, “We have a full time Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion whose role as per DCUSU Constitution is as follows: they are ‘the main representative for diversity and inclusion within the University and local community.”

O’Dowd says the role includes providing representation for all non-traditional students, such as “access students, mature students, HEAR/DARE students, parents, commuter students, international students, post-graduate students and part-time learners.”

O’Dowd outlined the responsibilities of the VP for Diversity & Inclusion role saying they would be “responsible for campaigning and creating awareness for particular student groups, which include but are not limited to the following: LGBT+, Human Rights, Direct Provision, Women, Ethnic Minorities, Disabled students, Students of all Faith Groups. A particular focus of their work would be placed on ensuring the Union caters for all disadvantaged and/or marginalised students’.

“The introduction of such a role alongside the work that we do with our Class Rep Council Advisory Groups showcases that we strive to create a welcoming environment in DCU for all students.” O’Dowd added.

According to many sources, O’Mahony was also seen by students putting up posters to support a ‘Re-Open Nominations’ (RON) Campaign for the Science & Health officer position. When The College View asked Science and Health officer, Adam Daly, about this he made no reply.

During her time in Sinn Féin, O’Mahony claimed that she was a victim of bullying while the Chairperson of UCD’s Ógra Shinn Féin in 2020. She claimed that the party’s president, TD Mary Lou McDonald, did not care for supporters who had been trolling her.

O’Mahony resigned after the party told her not to discuss internal matters publicly, not before another member of the party had visited her at her home in late 2020, telling her to delete similar Tweets which were critical of the party. Sinn Féin later apologised for their actions towards O’Mahony. 

Later, she joined the Social Democrats, but left in 2021 within a short period of time claiming the party was “too quiet on issues that were really important, rarely attended protests” adding the party were “sucking up too much to Labour”. 

O’Mahony said she would stay a part of DCUSU and work on team work, adding “there’s no I in team”. But the VP might have to show how she can “work effectively as a team” during tonight’s National USI hustings.

Muiris O’Cearbhaill

Image Credit: DCUSU