C&C Candidate: Thomas Monaghan

 As a veteran class rep, Tom Monaghan believes that his experience, knowledge, and ability make him the ideal choice for Campaigns and Communications Officer.

Tom Monaghan, 21, is a 3rd year Social Science student who is running for the position of Campaigns and Communications Officer (C&C) in the upcoming UCD Students’ Union executive election.

Monaghan has vast experience as a class rep, and he intends to use his class rep experience to succeed if elected as C&C Officer.

"He lavishes praise on previous C&C officers, Luke Fitzpatrick and Cian Byrne, whom he clearly admired.

He believes that currently there is “no more room for error” and it is his belief that, in his hands, the office of C&C will be restored to its recent glory. He lavishes praise on previous C&C officers, Luke Fitzpatrick and Cian Byrne. He cites their energy and passion and feels that he has similar characteristics, “I would like to think of myself as very friendly, approachable and a relatable person.”

In the right hands, he believes that the role of C&C, still relatively new to UCDSU, is “the most integral role to the UCD union,” and in particular, is instrumental for repairing the union’s damaged reputation. Monaghan believes that as the primary go-between between the students and the union it is “mainly down to the C&C officer” to rebuild the union’s reputation. He does take a realistic stance however, noting that “it's not going to be repaired overnight.”

One of the primary ways in which Monaghan proposes to do this is to reduce the anonymity of the union. Monaghan suggests a weekly update, available on the UCDSU website, which would allow for the uploading of videos/podcasts/Snapchats from SU events “at the end of every week.” All of this content would be archived, so students could check and look back on what the “union is doing week-to-week.” He admits that this would only work for “the students who are interested,” as it would only reach students who visit the SU website and would require emails or other prompts to reach less-engaged students.

One of Monaghan’s biggest manifesto ideas, which he is most enthusiastic and engaging about, is the abolishment of the Ents crew in favour of Ents reps. Instead of a simple sign-up, where “200/300 sign up yet only 5-10 reply to an email” there would be “an application and interview process” where students who “are passionate about events management and music” can be recruited and given responsibility to the company. In this way reps would be discouraged from missing events in fear that they could lose “their title.” If people weren’t “pulling their weight” they would simply be asked to leave, “for the good of the company.”

This business-like approach to dealing with reps also cropped up during Monaghan’s discussion of the current class rep system. Currently if “they miss council, there's nothing done about it” he says, “that's not the way it should be at all.” He believes that class reps are “obliged to go to union council” as they’re “representing [their] course.” According to him, sanctions should be introduced to encourage class reps to fulfil this responsibility: “I’m very much of the opinion that if you're missing union council, I'm sorry you're not allowed reap the benefits of being a class rep.”

Another of Monaghan’s leading manifesto points is his advice scheme, which he has dubbed “MATE” (Mature Advice to Everyone). Under this scheme “mature students can give life advice” to other students. As students “we're preparing to enter working life and listening to and respecting our elders applies now more than ever.” He believes mature and post-graduate students represent an “untapped fountain of knowledge” in UCD and younger students should have a forum to avail themselves of such advice. Although Monaghan himself is enthusiastic and receptive to such advice (“I could listen to that all day”) it remains to be seen if the majority of students would allow themselves to be condescended to by mature/post-graduate students, or even if, with their hectic schedules, such mature people would be willing to offer such advice.

Although keen on creating new schemes such as this and revolutionising UCD Ents, Monaghan’s manifesto is very light on student campaigns. Although he says he wants to represent “students on national and local issues” he confines himself to a paragraph on consent, a reticence which is reflected in his interview. He focuses on the effect he can, as C&C officer, have “down the campus” aiming to “talk to 20 students a day.” While undoubtedly creative and enthusiastic, it remains to be seen if Monaghan has the determination to continue and reinvigorate long-standing campaigns.