#MSUelec12 LIVE BLOG: VP Welfare & Equality and Presidential Debate

Welcome one and all. Debates are about to start. Stay tuned folks. 

Shane, Dave and Broni with the VP Welfare & Equality cabdidates.

21.35 That’s a wrap folks. Podcast and fall out to follow very soon

21.33 Should we not try and modify RAG week, given the recent bad press and the concerns from people in the town. Naoise wants to integrate the town , looked at other ways to market it, but RAG is a recognised brand. Seamus says RAG week is a vote puller for first and second years. There are other important issues, students need to learn the true meaning of RAG and he would be in favour of re-branding it. Naoise, rebuttal. Everything on Naoise’s manifesto are things that he can do that are guaranteed in the year. Seamus would also like to see a graduate fair in Maynooth as well

21.32 favourite memes…to be posted later

21.29 Seamus talks about making a more cohesive student movement. Is RAG week not a trivial issue in comparison. Naoise outlines how he wants to be a a barrister when he grows up and how he put that in jeopardy by taking part in the Occupation of Naas. He wants to create a movement that will raise money for those less fortunate in these economic times

21.28 Asked about Gardai and RAG week. He said that he would bring a document with permission. Why is it not here? Naoise says he hasn’t it. [WARNING BY CHAIR TO KEEP ON TRACK]

21.26 RAG week would fall under VPCSUD, why would this be a concern of the president. Naoise says It would come under VPSEC as well and RAG week would be implemented as a team. Same with Welfare and mental health.

21.23 Class rep junket cost asked. Naoise defends this decision as it was the cheapest and safest option.

21.20 How would the mature students role differ from that of the roles undertaken by the president or the mature student society? Naoise a formal body needs to be there to cater for the needs of mature students. Seamus asks the question poser how they feel about their experience as a mature student. They say that more can be done to integrate them. “As a rep” asks Seamus to applause.

21.18  On mature rep. Should mature students be the only only ones getting a boost. Should LGBT, women and others be also included? Naoise answers that mature students are a specific aspect as they don’t come from the usual route to education. Seamus says that he too is in favour of a mature rep. understands the difficulties. Does not see union as a hierarchical system. If elected, he is just the representative of what ever is popular opinion by students.

21.16 Idea of town hall meetings. Naoise says it takes away form the democratic nature of UC. A good idea but shows that it can be a bit of a talk shop.

21.13  Issue of mandate to participate in occupations. What was the procedure to mandate occupation of Deputy Lawlor’s office? Did you seek a mandate (to naoise) and what procedures would candidates advocate to discuss this. Naosie answers with a meeting called. Reasoning behind it being an exec decision was due to the fact that it would have been leaked if brought to UC. Need for it to be part of a closed circle. Being brought to UC would depend on the issue.

21.11  Seamus asked about his community activism. Started in secondary school. involvement in Gluais. Progressed intto various campaigns. Most recently involved with the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Right to Work, Do you want everything er…. Activism is a way of life.

21.10 Both candidates would work with welfare officer in relation to suicide and depression prevention. Seamus includes it in his main 3 points as it is so important. Wouls work with welfare officer.

21.06 MHS questions talks about the CON-SUL-TANT psychiatrist again. Seamus says its something he takes quite seriously. He would like to work with people like the MHS who genuinely know  about these issues who are trained to implement such programs. Did interviews about the issue. Worry transfer of care that needs to be addresses. Naoise says mental health is extremely important. One thing in his strategic plan will go through union council and write up on various areas. The strategy for the medical centre would include this and would incorporate the MHS and Welfare officer.

21.05  Questions from the floor. Should we have a RAG week considering how toxic the brand of RAG week is and concentrate on student activism. Naoise says that the bars in town are doing RAG week anyway. He wants to bring back the charity aspect.

21.01 Seamus is asked if he would take part in an occupation with or without a mandate from students. He says that he would not use the position in an individual capacity but rather to give a voice to Students. He quotes Ghandi and his stance on civil disobedience. Laws are man made and are there to be changed.

20.59 Seamus was asked about his thoughts on the occupation of Anthony Lawlor’s office. He speaks about his sisters’ recent experience with regard to the recent occupation of Liffey Valley La Senza. He acted in an advisory capacity to the workers and helped them to get media coverage. He emphasised the importance of imagery.

20.58 Naoise says the biggest flaw in the Union is the lack of communication between offices and that weekly meetings would be organised to make this better.

20.56 Seamus speaks abut the low attendance participation in education for people in his area. He voices his previous cynicism of student politics. He wants to change the mindset and be a voice for students in a strong union.

20.51 Point of Galway RAG week brought up. Naoise wants it to be a whole community event. POI How will you make it a family event if students are just going to be mouldy. Naoise wants to include castle fayre, GAA coaching etc.

20.46 Questions to candidates. To Seamus, on rag week. He says is a quagmire. Reason it was cancelled was due to community at large complaining of it. Is not against it per say does not have a rapport with the Gardai. If they were for it, and students wanted it, he would not stand in its way. Naoise. Rebuttal. It was stopped due to Galway Rag week. Seamus mention RAG week banner outside the Roost being taken down due to complaints by the Gardi. Naoise says that this contact by Gardai was false and part of a smear campaign by a member of the exec.

20.41 Naoise starts to equal applause. Strategic plan, rag week and mature students rep main 3 points of 11 point manifesto. need to access costing in shop, bar and chill. reintroduction of RAG week WILL happen if elected. As a union we can do it. met with Gardi and this is possible apparently and will happen. main thin to remember is that it is to RAISE & GIVE. Charity is the most important thing. As students, be have the ability to raise so much money up from €10,000. mature students have come to college in different ways. Adding their voice to the union adds to the college experience. A mature rep can deal with the problems of mature students. Plans on a day where potential employers can come to the college and show students what jobs they can have after graduation. Financial transparency with reports. Also comes from an activist background. has campaigned for the Irish language.

20.37 Seamus starts to a rapture of applause. Feels that through his MA has acquired the skills necessary to fill the role of president. Wants to bring back equality aspect to students on a wider scale that cannot be done by a Welfare officer. Wants to see library used in most student way possible. As president, the need is to voice the concerns by students. real issues include students dropping out and the need of a strong voice to show these concerns. Student facilities that are being cut need to be reversed. He wants to be the voice to speak on students behalf.

20.36 Presidential debate about to start. People just taking their seats.

20.18 That’s a wrap for welfare. Back in 10 minutes for the Presidential Debate.

20.15 Candidates are asked how they would deal with book prices. The book shop on campus is very expensive. Danielle speaks about using the second hand bookshop in the union or trying out a book swap scheme. Podge would like books to be made into pdf files and for materials to be accessed electronically with the support of lecturers. Fiach says books fall under the remit of education which is in the President’s role, and that he would work with the president to make books more accessible.

20.13 Fiach was asked if he would like to go back to his original question to see whether or not there is something he would improve on. Fiach says he has kept a log book with pointers on how to improve from last year that will be handed on to the next person to fill his position.

20.11 Fiach highlights how Clubs And Socs are imperative to disseminating information regarding mental health. Danielle would also integrate societies in themed weeks. Podge re-iterates the need for good physical and mental health.

20.07 Candidates are asked how they would deal with a student coming up to the who was thinking about dropping out of college. Podge would like to meet and talk to the person, find out about their interests, help them to get them involved in Clubs and Socs. Danielle recommends using utilising societies to find people with similar interests. Fiach has experience of this. He says that there are many different ways of addressing the problem. People need to be met half way then work towards a solution.

20.06 Podge is asked about the feasibility of hot water in the Common Room given the limited space and lack of working sockets. Podge hopes to have management plan in place by July 1st

20.02 With regard to equality issue, Podge says that there should be a service where people could speak to someone of the same gender in the SU with regard to sensitive issues. Danielle hopes to find employ a solutions based problem solving approach with regard to equality issues. Fiach talks about an anti bullying campaign with heavy emphasis on minority groups. Danielle speaks about isolation as a form of bullying.

20.01 Question raised to Fiach about sexist advertising in Maynooth. Fiach says he has not taken action as it has not been brought to him.

19.57 Questions from the floor. Aoife mentions the previous advertising. Podge says if they are illegal then they shouldn’t be allowed. Should they not be approved by Welfare? Podge says the vetting system needs to be changed. Fiach says there is no real policy of this but it should be pushed through union council. Danielle agrees. POI. The stamp is not a vetting system. has nothing to do with vetting. POI The question has nothing to do with censorship and more about sexism. Danielle said she was aware that it was a sexist poster but does not know much about the specifics.

19.54  Over 15% of Maynooth students are mature students. All candidates speak about the need for formal recognition of mature students and to incorporate the issues that they face with regard to mental health services. Finance has been identified as being directly linked to positive or negative mental health.

19.53  Danielle talks about the need to ‘hassle’ people to get mental health services in place.

19.48  Podge talks about the Samaritans campaign that hasn’t been acted upon. Fiach rebuts saying that the local branch have never undertaken project like this before.

19.46 Fiach talks about the need for informal structures like a talk to friends to campaign that would hopefully ease the pressure on Mental Health Services at stressful times during the year eg exam time.

19.44 Kellie talks about the need for a full time CON-SUL-TANT psychiatrist on campus as there are limited services in place and there is a review of supports to be done in the near future.

19.40  Kellie Fagan of Mental Health Soc asks questions to the candidates. All candidates are very enthusiastic about attending MHS events and working with them.

17.39 POI, there was a similar issue, relating to style Soc and an Ann Summers poster. Nothing done about it at Union Council. Quorum was not reached at that particular UC and   there were difficulties regarding where the line was drawn with regards to censorship. Fiach was not at that particular Union Council and not aware of that particular Equality Issue.

19.35 Alchemy is mentioned. Shane is giving a run down on the issue. How would candidates deal with such an issue with Maynooth pubs using such advertising. Danielle speaks of free speech and advertising but ot to force their opinions on others. For this kind of advertising, this needs to be censored. These images are unacceptable. Podge says it’s a ‘sensitive topic’. POI, adverts are actually breaking the law. How would you tackle this? Fiach a motion would need to be brought to UC in order to take a stance on it as a whole to mandate and perhaps the creation of an action group to take care of it.

19.33 Danielle is asked on where she would improve funding to help students. One would be to get the college to look at student accommodation and work out deals between landlords to ensure  that houses will be filled if they were up to standard.

19.32 Student Hardship Fund. Fiach. Students are feeling he recession and the SHF was set up to help students who don’t qualify for usual supports. This will hopefully be expanded to include food and fuel etc to get students through the year.

19.31 POI. One of the 3 counsellors, 1 is stepping down and for 7000 plus students, this is not adequate.

17.30 There is no permanent psychologist. Thoughts? All candidates are behind the idea of one. Podge says the SU should get behind it and Danielle agrees. Fiach says that these services are being evaluated and that support systems are always being improved and put in place.

19.27 According to Podge, Brendan Ashe (Head of Health and Safety) is being the management plan for microwaves and kettles in the Common Room. Rebuttal from Fiach, kettles need to be attended by a member of staff. Counter-rebuttal from Podge, the hot water facility will go ahead.

19.26 All candidate have gone to marches and are staunchly anti-fees. Podge, didn’t attend the march due to academic issues.

19.24 Fiach talks about being ‘lost’ after stepping down from his role last Friday. Supports have been put in place for case work while he is campaigning

19.23  Danielle talks about USI, focusing on their role as an anti-fees lobby group.

19.22 Podge explains the process behind the oil deal. he knows the fella who owns the company. So far no conditions are in place. may extend it if he is not elected.

19.21 Podge is not happy with the lack of Road safety awareness. Fiach said there is one for first week of April. Danielle makes a point of access to books and the limited access to books. Needs to improve on the second hand book scheme. Give a book, get a book.

19.21 How does Fiach felt the first year has gone and what could be done better? Fiach thinks campaigns have gone very well. Especially with help of C & S.

19.20 Big claps for all candidates. next up the dreaded Q & A…

19.16 Podge up next. Wants to improve books available in library. Improve housing. The oil deal? He mention is a deal that is all ready done. Taking to a company that is offering a figure of 10% reduction in price. Microwaves and boiled water. Why are these not there? met with health & safety. Should not be a problem once a plan is put in place. Mental health is not a taboo subject. Everyone is connected in some way. mentions campaigns including healthy eating, road safety etc.

19.15 some good points but is all the info correct we’ve been told.

19.13 Danielle wants to improve the accessibility towards student housing. Substandard quality of housing off campus is a serious problem. To have a calorie count of food on campus to help students find out what is best for them. A good manifesto all round.

19.11 Danielle talks about the financial hardship that students’ face. Talks about plans to introduce a meal card system similar to the American system. Mental Health, Increase services. The role of the class rep as a conduit for Mental health services is highlighted.

19.10 Danielle Claire O’Sullivan takes to the stage, a little bit nervous.

19.09 Fiach gives a run down of facilities he has out in place for the year and outlines how he wishes to continue. Including student hardship fund and Welfare App.

19.08 Fiach O’Neill starts off. Giving his run down of the previous year as VP.

19.06 Dave Ryan giving a run down of tonight’s proceedings. Candidates manifestos up first.

19.06 Candidates “looks a little nervous” Leonie

19.05 Welfare & Equality candidates taking to the stage

19.03 We will be starting in 5 mins.

19.00 Crowd still coming in. looks like it will be a good one.

-Padraig McCarrick & Leonie Delaney


One thought on “#MSUelec12 LIVE BLOG: VP Welfare & Equality and Presidential Debate

  1. Pingback: #MSUelec12: MSU Elections Hustings Videos With NUIM Media Soc. | The Student Observer

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