Campaigns and Communications Officer and Acting President Barry Murphy has denied that he has had any talks with the Freedom of Choice Coalition UCD. The denial comes as the group who were petitioned for a referendum on UCDSU membership released a statement backing Murphy for UCDSU President.

The group’s backing of his Presidential bid comes as surprising to Murphy. Speaking to the Tribune he said “Although I am grateful for the support of UCD students during my campaign for President, I in no way support the views or agenda of the campaign group FOCC. A group of students, trying to hamper the services, representation and the events UCDSU provides are in my opinion, completely counterproductive. UCD students can currently remove themselves from UCDSU membership by writing to the president expressing their wishes. The President will then respond acknowledging their request and will remove them from our mailing and membership lists. The student however will still have full access to our services. I have never spoken to any student involved in the FOCC campaign, I have not been involved in any negotiations and will not be supporting their campaign if elected.”

The group who originally opposed Murphy’s candidacy said “After talks and much to-ing and fro-ing on the issue, we have thought better of those comments and announce that we are officially supporting Barry Murphy in his bid for President. Murphy has been working hard in recent times to be President of UCD Students’ Union. We fully support him with the knowledge that he is a friend to the FOCC UCD SU Campaign and we look forward to seeing our aims met in the new semester under President Murphy.”

FOCCSU had previously opposed Murphy’s bid for President saying in another press release on November 9th “We would like to express our bewilderment that at a time when dissatisfaction with Student Union spending is so prevalent, Barry Murphy would choose to run for the position of SU President. As a consequence, either an additional election will be held to fill Mr. Murphy’s previous position, or the position of Campaigns & Communications Officer will be left vacant, despite the student mandate for it to be filled and the will of the students that Mr Murphy fulfil those duties until June 2018. A second by-election will undoubtedly be accompanied by all the unnecessary expenditure and bureaucratic blundering that has become the trademark of the SU over the past number of years.”

In a separate email sent to the Tribune on November 9th the group said “It is not unreasonable to suggest that the announcement of Barry Murphy’s candidacy in the Presidential by-election is more damaging to UCD Students’ Union than a democratic appeal to a constitutional membership framework.” The group has remained quiet since then with today’s press release being the first communication received by the Tribune since November 9th.

Rachel O’Neill – Editor