Beat the Recession: Run for the Union

Without trying to sound like the countless number of articles and blogs that document the woeful circumstances that this economic crisis, known as “The Recession” has had for the “Young People” of Ireland, I feel like I have to comment on it in some way.

Many of us have friends who have recently graduated from university or are on the verge of doing so ourselves and have now come into a world where the opportunities of the Celtic Tiger have long gone. Students are faced with the the following options:

1. Emigrate. We all know someone who has gone to the likes of Canada, Australia and the States to name just a few in search of greener pastures and to take the jobs of the locals. I can’t help but feel the irony on those who complained about the Poles who seemed to “take our jobs” in the boom years only to have to leave themselves.

2. The Dole. An even more attractive option for the home bird student. With the lack of career opportunities at the moment, many are deciding to ride out the recession for a couple years. Whether this method works or just breeds a generation of work-a-phobia remains to be seen.

3. Stay in college. Yes why not stay in college for a couple more years either by doing a post-grad or simply failing a couple years then repeating.

However, since the nominations for the Union Council elections opened a vast majority of students have applied for the various sabbatical positions giving way to the name of the “Dole-Line elections”.

And why not. Take a year out. Get paid for hanging out in college and of course, improve the C.V
While this is of course and extremely cynical view, one must look into the motives of the respective candidates and ask why would they want this job? Are they looking to better the welfare of the students they represent? Or is it for personal gain.

Of the three Sabbatical positions in NUIM, both the Presidential and VP for Welfare and education have 5 candidates and for the majority of them, their motives seem to be slightly dubious. For this blogger, only VP for Comms. and Dev. candidate Robert Munnelly seems to have any form of revolutionary vision for the University.

For the Presidential race (which will be commentated on in more detail in future blogs), an interesting race is emerging. While Labour Youth member and favorite Aengus O’Maoláin seems to have the election, one must be critical of his clear populist approach. While probably the most able of the candidates, is he just using this as an opportunity to further potential political ambitions and if so, do we really care?

Jason Whelan, while he favors himself as a likely winner, is nothing but a self achieving careerist who is out of touch with reality and sits on the fence on every issue in a lame attempt to widen his diminishing support base.

Gavin Brady, while causing a stir with his posters, seems the dark horse to O’Maoláin, coming out in support of U.S.I, which may eat into the favorites votes. But we must ask would he make a good president for OUR Student Union or does he have the substance to match his likable approach and entertaining campaign. While he does seem a tad jack-the-lad, he may turn some heads.

The two female candidates of Shelley O’Leary and Tara Clarke seem to be on the outside with the former a complete non-entity at the hustings and extremely wishy washy in her answers and opinions. Young Green Clarke, while enthusiastic and energetic may poll ahead of Brady and Whelan seems over concerned with environmental issues and her ties to an in-government party may damage her campaign extensively.

Yes it seems like an interesting campaign is under way and will be followed closely in the remaining few days. Stay tuned.


Originally posted 21/2/10 at


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