Plans for UCD delegation trip to Rome put on hold

The University Observer has learned that a delegation of students scheduled to represent UCD at an educational symposium in Rome will be replaced. Instead, university and Students’ Union officials were, at the time of printing, attempting to find a new delegation to represent UCD.Former UCDSU Education Vice-President, Donnacha Ó Súilleabháin, was asked to arrange a delegation for the conference in the absence of former UCDSU President and current President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Gary Redmond, last year.Ó Súilleabháin told The University Observer: “The delegation which I asked to attend the conference with me was composed of people who I felt might be interested in what are essentially quite 'niche' topics (including the Bologna process, student mobility and the Erasmus programmes). The students in question all have a background representing UCD in various ways, most of them have been elected representatives at some point and all of them have been heavily involved in student life for the past number of years.”It is the understanding of The University Observer that the Vice-President for Students, Dr Martin Butler, requested the current UCDSU president Paul Lynam to nominate a new delegation for the trip.Lynam said of the matter: “I’ve been asked to put together a delegation to go to Rome for this conference, and time permitting, we hope to do that; it will be a new delegation and not the delegation that was assembled.”When questioned why the original delegation was not attending the Symposium, Lynam replied: “If I’m picking my team, it’s going to be my team.” Redmond, his predecessor, declined to comment on the matter.However, contrary to this, Ó Súilleabháín told The University Observer that the trip was not going ahead, citing the timing of the conference and the cost as reasons for this: “Unfortunately, by the time all of these factors became apparent, the deadline for registration of new attendees had passed, coupled with the fact that there is quite a lot of written work and research involved in attending the conference, I did not ask anyone else to replace us.”It is thought that Ó Súilleabháin’s delegation was not deemed fit to go to Rome due to the controversy surrounding Science Day 2009, in which funds raised for Crumlin Children’s Hospital allegedly went missing.Ó Súilleabháin was the subject of further controversy during the summer when he  chose to hide his identity from a national newspaper while participating in a USI protest. Ó Súilleabháin called himself Dennis O’Sullivan and claimed to be a recent graduate of Trinity College Dublin.In addition, the former officer and Achill native told the newspaper he was from Ballina in Co. Mayo and had graduated from Trinity College Dublin, despite still being in second Neuroscience in UCD.