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Students’ Union Election: Candidate Watch – Deputy President & Campaigns Officer

UCC’s annual Student Union Elections take place next week, with voting taking place on March 4th, 5th and 6th. This year, as part of the election registration process, candidates were asked to answer five questions for The University Express about their campaign, their manifesto and their plans were they to be elected. Each day, we will be running through the different positions and shining a light on each of the candidates. In this issue, we focus on the two candidates for the position of Deputy President & Campaigns Officer: Amy Meagher and Ciara Kealy


Amy Meagher

What made you choose to run for this position?

I really wanted to remain involved in campaigning and student activism, so this feels like the perfect position for me. I would be delighted to sit on committees as a representative of the student body and use the platform that the Deputy and Campaigns Officer has to fight for the needs of the students.

If you had to choose one point from your manifesto as your main goal, what would it be?

From my conversations with UCC students, I’ve learned that one of the main difficulties for people is isolation. You look at social media, or listen to conversations, and on the surface it can seem as though you are the only one struggling and facing hardships in college. I want to break down this cultural stereotype and compile a survey on isolation and tactics to combat this. You are not alone in facing any experience during your time in college, and I plan to encourage an open conversation around this topic.

 What do you think sets you apart from the other candidates for your position?

I have been heavily involved in student activism during my time in UCC, and because of this I have gotten to experience the behind the scenes organisation of various groups. As Chairperson of UCC SVP, I have attended multiple society Senates and because of my position of Gender Equality Officer, I have sat in Student Councils, and even put forward this year’s referendum on making the SU Constitution gender neutral.

 What experience do you have that you feel will help you, if you get the position?

I believe that being a society Chairperson will aid me in being Co-Chair of UCC Green Campus. I am also currently on the Equality Working Group, so I would be delighted to return and help with the running of successful campaigns in the next academic year. For the last two years I have worked with the Student Community Support. I know how it operates, and I would be very excited to take over and organise the gang for next year, as they are such a vital part of the Union’s work and this is a project I am particularly passionate about.

 What do you feel was the SU’s greatest success this year?

There is plenty to choose from! This year’s Union pushed the pledge for the college to go Plastic Free by 2023, and were hugely successful. Single-use plastics are a massive pollutant so it is great to see steps being taken to limit their use. However, I would like to propose that plastic straws are available upon request for those who require their use for accessibility reasons.


Ciara Kealy

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What made you choose to run for this position?

It might sound very cliché but I truly want to make a difference in the world, be it for one individual or an entire community. For me, campaigns and lobbying to improve everyone’s life is how I can do this. Campaigning is an extremely important part of our lives and we must make a conscious effort to actively engage with politics and issues affecting us as students and people.

If you had to choose one point from your manifesto as your main goal, what would it be?

Another cliché (I apologise) but, my main goal is truly to support, campaign for and represent all students. That is what this position was created for and that is what I plan to do My manifesto’s main goal in its simplicity and its entirety is to support students’ lives and protect students’ futures.

What do you think sets you apart from the other candidates for your position?

My utter determination and work ethic is an important part of my character which sets me apart. I know anyone could say that about themselves but I really mean it. I am also incredibly observant and very good at looking at situations from an outsider’s perspective means that I can usually see things other people wouldn’t notice or would just glance over without acknowledgement. I like to question everything and that part of my character combined with my deep interest in politics, life issues and campaigns will really stand to my advantage, and to the advantage of the students of UCC.

What experience do you have that you feel will help you if you get the position?

My time with Comhairle na nÓg has definitely taught me valuable life skills relevant to this role. I have been part of a team who successfully lobbied the government for more lighting and CCTV in our local area and who ran mental and physical well-being campaigns. Also, just last summer I organised the programme of activities for a camp with 800 Cub-Scouts in attendance showing I’m not only capable of campaigning and lobbying but also capable of running real events to back the campaigns and movements UCC students feel passionate about.

What do you feel was the Students’ Union’s greatest success this year?

What stands out to me massively was the Students’ Union presence on campus during study week with their competitions and Santa’s Grotto raising even more money for charities, but their greatest success I would say is their work to get UCC to be single-use plastic free. The week the SU spent plastic-free was quite impressive, especially when they told us of all the items they couldn’t use like shampoo from the bottle and toothbrushes… it opened a very important dialogue for UCC as a green campus and UCC students as leaders in sustainability. More movements like this should be continued.