Referendum on UCDSU pro-choice position to go ahead

IT was announced yesterday evening that a student petition to get the UCDSU to hold another referendum on their abortion stance has officially been submitted. The campaign, run by the UCD Students for Fair Representation group (UCDSFFR), started last month and has now successfully passed the 927 signature threshold to grant a referendum.UCDSFFR announced on their Facebook page yesterday evening that they had reached over 1,000 signatures and submitted the petition to the Students' Union. They are waiting on a formal acceptance from the union, but wish to have the referendum held in week seven.UCDSU are currently serving out a mandate that was enacted in 2014, as a result of a campus referendum in 2013. The 2013 referendum asked whether the SU should adopt a policy on abortion. In the four-way ballot paper, 73% of students of the 1193 who voted wished for the SU to begin a pro-choice outlook.The current SU sabbatical team have focused heavily on the Repeal the 8th campaign so far this year, working with the group UCD for Choice. The SU also had a significant presence during last month's Repeal march.Speaking to the University Observer after the submission of the petition. UCDSFFR representative Roger Berkeley expressed the group's delight over the petition: "We were verily confident that we would always get the petition passed but [...] seeing the reaction and how many people actually want to get the referendum through was quite mind-blowing. We’ve not just been getting signatures, we’ve gotten volunteers to help us get signatures [...] people who want to get actively involved."The group are looking to transition quickly to the referendum campaign, with Berkeley stating that the focus is on to "utilise the people we have, getting people to focus on their particular talents on the referendum campaign… I’m quite confident – all of us – are quite confident that this referendum will pass.”He stated that the group believe "a lot of people agree with the stance [of pro-choice] but I don’t think the union should campaign for it because a students’ union is supposed to represent everybody on campus."Citing the funds that the SU have put into the campaign, Berkeley mentioned that the SU "is not a democracy, like a government is, because it’s not a government - it's a union that represents everyone and a union doesn’t divide people.UDCSU have so far declined to comment on the petition, as they are obliged to maintain a neutral stance.