Returning office responds to complaints of canvassing on student residences

Complaints have been made to UCD Residences regarding Entertainments Officer-elect Thomas Monaghan’s behaviour during the by-election period for the Entertainments Officer race last month, The University Observer has learned.

According to the complaint, Monaghan had been canvassing door-to-door in student residence buildings, talking about his experience as Campaigns and Communications Officer. The complainant raised concerns about Monaghan’s right to canvass in student residences, and the quality of security in residences. The complaint alleges that this happened in the run up to the by-election for the Entertainments Officer on the 24th and 25th of April this year, an election that Monaghan went on to win.

In an email responding to the complainant, UCD Residences stated that “students are not allowed to canvass in the residence and Thomas had no right to do so”, adding “we too are concerned as to how he managed to get into the building as only students who live in the building have access”. For non-residents to enter the building, they must be accompanied by a resident or have acquired the UCARD of a resident. If a resident had allowed Monaghan entry, then he would be subject to the UCD Residential Services Guest Policy, which states “guests must be accompanied by the resident at all times”, and that “the occupier is responsible for their actions at all times”.” According to the complainant, Monaghan was unaccompanied. UCD Residences were approached for comment, but they stated that they do not comment on individual cases.

The same complaint was made to the UCDSU Returning Officer Michael Foley by both the complainant and UCD Residences, however it was found not to be in breach of current electoral rules. Responding to request for comment from The University Observer, the Returning Officer stated “UCD SU returning office is only responsible for dealing with breaches of electoral rules. Complaints are considered on a case by case basis and adjudicated in light of the rules. Breaches of other University rules are the remit of the University to apply their disciplinary code. The powers of the Returning Office are wide in relation to ensuring elections are fair and balanced”. In an email to the SU, Foley stated “A request was made by UCD Residences regarding rules relating to canvassing on Res in future elections. This will be considered by the returning office in due course.”

Both Thomas Monaghan and the UCDSU press office were contacted with questions regarding this incident, and are as of yet to answer them.