From left to right, Thomas Monaghan, Niall Torris, Barry Murphy and Melissa Plunkett
The UCDSU Sabbatical team for 2018/2019 will be as follows:
President: Barry Murphy
Education Officer: Stephen Crosby
Welfare Officer: Melissa Plunkett
C&C Officer: Thomas Monaghan
Graduate Officer: Niall Torris
Crosby, Monaghan, and Torris were elected into their positions following the first round of counting. The Welfare race went through two rounds of counting and a re-count before Plunkett was announced as Welfare Officer.
Crosby was elected Education Officer with 1734, 52%, votes, whilst his opponent Christine Brown received 1437, 43%, votes. In her concession speech, Brown noted the “friendly nature” of the Education race this year compared to other races and wished Crosby all the best. Crosby ran his campaign based on an approach towards improving college life for students who failed modules, and wishes to remove grade capping on resit and repeats.
Thomas Monaghan was elected C&C Officer in a relatively scandal free race. His campaign focused on reinvigorating the Ents Crew and being the link between the SU and students. Monaghan admires his predecessors in the role and believes that the lack of a C&C officer has been very damaging for the majority of this year. During his tearful acceptance speech, he said his only true regret in his three years working in the union was that he had not befriended his sole opponent, Kevin Brennan, sooner.
Third-year midwifery student Melissa Plunkett has been elected as Welfare Officer for 2018/2019, with 1713 votes to John Kerr’s 1642. Kylie Roche, eliminated after the first round, received 362 votes. Plunkett will be the sole female officer on the new sabbatical team. Speaking afterwards, Plunkett stated “I just want to thank everybody who supported me and came out and supported me.”
Plunkett won 7 of 13 Schools with just under 44% of the valid vote, with Kerr taking the others. Roche lived up to the image of her as an unknown outsider, garnering little over 10% of the vote without winning any faculties. Plunkett’s manifesto included providing free condoms, dental dams, and feminine hygeine in on-campus accommodation, and introducing online counselling facilities to remove pressure from the waiting list for counselling in UCD.
Niall Torris has been re-elected to the position of Graduate officer. Torris ran unopposed and received 84% of the vote. It is somewhat of a hollow victory, with high rates of votes to ReOpen Nominations, 25% of students in Science and a whopping 60% of the Carysfort vote also voting for RON. Carysfort also had a very high number of spoiled ballots, with 15 out of the possible 25 votes being spoiled. As Carysfort is the only campus in UCD dedicated to graduate students, it would seem they are not impressed with Torris’s performance in the past year.
However, with Barry Murphy being reelected also, it will certainly be helpful to have two sabbatical officers returning to their positions. Whether or not this will result in a more impressive performance next year is anyone’s guess.
Murphy was in second place for President, behind Breifne O’Brien, until the fifth round of counting. This was largely due to O’Brien’s large support from his home-faculty, Agriculture, where he received 334 votes in the first count, the highest number of votes any presidential candidate received from a single faculty.
Murphy was elected President with 1556 votes, with Ryan Oakes coming in a close second with 1452 votes. Towards the end of the count, the final total came down to redistribution of O’Brien’s transfers, and examinations of spoiled votes. In his acceptance speech, Murphy said: “We had an absolute disaster of a year…I’ve learned so much from my mistakes and others’ mistakes and I’ll use that going forward.” Murphy intends to maintain pressure on University Management to achieve success in areas such as resit and repeat fees, and improving the counselling service in the UCD Health Centre.
The new sabbatical team will take office in June.