UCDSU Election 2021: Campaigns & Engagement Candidate Darryl Horan

Image Credit: Odin O'Sullivan

Darryl Horan is a 23 year old masters student studying global history. The People Before Profit member is running for the position of Campaigns & Engagement officer in this year's Executive election.

When asked about the single most important part of the position, Horan’s answer is short: “engagement, probably”. Probing further into the role of C&E officer, Horan responded “The role of the C&E officer is firstly to engage with the campaigns committee...but as well as being partly the face of the union when you’re trying to engage with [students] and bring them into what the union is doing, as well as promoting what the other sabbat officers are doing”. Horan did try and evade the question of what he thought last years C&E officer’s biggest failure was, but when the question was rephrased to ask what he would have done differently, Horan stated he would’ve done more thematic weeks and more town halls, but “these are lessons we’ve learned this year, and that’s what works”. 

Horan believes he has plenty of experience that would qualify him for the position of campaigns and engagement saying “I've been Involved in a number of campaigns both in UCD and nationally. In UCD I’ve been involved in the No to Student Centre Levy, Fix Our Education, UCD Fair and Free, the UCD Climate Strike protests, and more nationally around a number of campaigns around fees, housing, and anti-racism”.  Horan also says the experience that would allow him to effectively communicate with students is that “I have experience working with apps like instagram, facebook, Twitter, I’m very capable of using them, and by and large I think I’m a quite a personable person, so I’d be happy to get down with people”. 

Horan says that students should vote for him as he wants to “see a higher education that’s radically transformed to one that works for all”. In response to being asked about the main issues that students are concerned about he replies, “housing fees and academic supports”. 

On the issue of class rep recruitment, Horan states “In groups where class representation is severly underrepresented, there needs to be lecturers addressing in the first weeks of term...but I think that is the best way to encounter them, especially if we’re still doing online classes”. Horan believes the current constituencies are correct and that attendance at council is high due to Zoom, he does acknowledge that there’s a general disconnect between students because of Covid.

When asked if students care about SU elections, Horan stated “Given that last year's voting, that like, I think about 1200 people voted with over 30,000 students, it’s hard to say yes”. In fact it was only 975 votes out of the 1262 registered voters that elected the current sabbats in place, according to the SU’s website. Horan attributes the low votes to Covid and registration, the latter adding “increased difficulty that you wouldn’t have in other universities”. When quizzed on how he would bring students to engage more with the SU, he said “more thematic weeks, more town halls, that’s the kind of time that you, beyond council, that you’re actually interacting with students”.

Horan also remarked that “Covid dependent, is a campus leaflet that we will canvas to all on campus students.” Horan further explained the leaflet campaigning would be to provide information for the students renting on campus. “I wouldn’t say there’s a particular focus on on-campus renters...the primary issue is we don’t have the address for off campus renters”. Horan does recognise that “the issues off campus are a lot more prominent.” When questioned about the contradiction of running a leaflet campaign while UCD tries to promote a more environmentally friendly campus, Horan said “if you’re looking at leaflets for 3000 people, this is not a massive environmental burden, and the role of the SU is to engage with students”. 

Horan believes UCDSU should rejoin USI, as “the issues in UCD aren’t exclusive to UCD, they’re national issues, and we’re not going to solve them in UCD alone”. In relation to how isolated UCD has become in terms of asking UCD management, “a better way of going about that probably would be appeals to external organisations that can support us and put further pressure on management…”. 

Another big part of Horan’s manifesto is anti-racism. He intends to build connections with anti-racist groups, such as Le Chéile, by signing up to them. “We’re already working with other groups, we’re working with groups like unite against racism”. Horan wishes to continue the work that’s been made on Decolonising the curriculum. As he mentioned in the interview, he’s spoken to the current diversity inclusion officer, and school officials about it. On the issue of CETA and what the effects of it are, “in terms of do people generally understand it? No, certainly not, there needs to be work done to promote what it is and why we must fight against it”. He does note that “it will probably be a long process, getting it negotiated and to the table”.