Daniel Devey is a 21-year-old stage two archaeology and history student. He is running against Neo O’Herlihy, current SU Officer of Entertainment, for the position of Entertainment Officer in this year’s UCDSU elections.

Outlining why he chose to run for this position Devey expressed that he feels the SU’s outreach needs to be improved. He wants to support students who, like himself, haven’t been within the SU’s influence and he hopes to increase this influence using his experiences in UCD.

When asked how he plans to bridge the gap between his experience compared to that of his opposition candidate Devey explained he will use his experience as a student and as a community volunteer. He acknowledged that it will be a learning process but one he’s sure that Neo went through too.

Devey’s manifesto outlines the importance of communication and one of his points is to ensure students have a say over their own social life. When asked what steps he plans to take to meet this promise he emphasised that he wants to hear directly from students about “what they want for their social life and anyway I can implement that, anyway I can work for them specifically I will’’.

Grilling Daniel Devey - UCDSU Entertainments Officer Candidate, photo by Hugh Dooley
Grilling Daniel Devey – UCDSU Entertainments Officer Candidate, photo by Hugh Dooley

When further questioned on his specific strategies to improve communication Devey proposed “setting up stands, stopping students, getting out there via social media, which we have been quite lacklustre in … doing vox pops even … any way to talk to students possible”.

Speaking further on this point Devey explained that out of roughly 30,000 students on the campus, he feels the SU only reaches 5-6,000 despite the Union’s significant social media following, he outlined that only a very small fraction interacts with the social media and that these numbers “are just unacceptable”.

Another core pillar of Devey’s manifesto is the repurposing of vacant spaces on the campus. When asked if he believed this would be achievable within the SU budget he responded, “It really depends. I have the SU’s budget to work with and sponsorships to look for”. He spoke of his high hopes to secure new sponsorships for the union and aims to achieve this through emailing potential sponsors and extending outreach. Devey speaks a lot about returning campus to its livelier pre-covid state, despite never being on campus pre-covid.

His manifesto discusses the repurposing of Building 71 which he believes should be “a massive social space for all”. Devey outlined that the building is “lying there currently. I know it’s probably used for architecture or something but it’s a massive space and it could be a massive student hotspot as it once was back in 2014, it used to be a student bar and this goes again to my point about UCD losing its sense of identity with these vacant spaces”.

When further probed in relation to the feasibility of this idea Devey explained, “I’ve done some research on it, it was a student bar back in 2014 or 2015 and I’m not exactly sure as to why it shut down as a student bar but the fact it did just shows UCD’s social life is dwindling”.

When informed that the student bar had in fact closed in 2012 due to the enormous debt run up by UCDSU, Devey responded, “That’s why we have to learn from our mistakes and do better”.

Asked about his experience in event organisation, Devey outlined how he had recently volunteered at the Smurfit social but admitted that his experience “organising is a bit lacklustre I will admit, but definitely one that I am eager and quick to learn”.

Discussing what ideas he has for events Devey began to list the all too familiar, “beer pong contests, quiz nights, coffee mornings, movie nights, UV light parties … boiler room parties”.

When asked how his events will differ from what the SU currently does Devey didn’t seem too certain but highlighted issues surrounding event cancellations which he believes highlights the weakness of the SU’s outreach.
Speaking further on these event cancellations Devey did express that it could be interpreted as a criticism of the current SU Officer but he emphasised that he did not want to place one person under blame but rather the SU as a body. He also explained that he wants to further research why these events were cancelled because it “does show there was some mild incompetence.” When asked if he believed this “incompetence” was structural his response was rather vague but he did admit, “I’d say it’s very structural, since you know there is a process to get events out there”.

Referencing potential event collaborations with the Clubhouse Devey explained he had contacted one Clubhouse stakeholder and is very open to working with the clubhouse if elected.

Answering why he believes students should vote for him over his opposition candidate, Devey outlined that he “can’t speak for Neo, but I can tell you about my own experience. I came to UCD in September 2021, and immediately I felt immense isolation, I felt very lost … and I didn’t feel that SU did enough for students who have been in my shoes, in my position. They didn’t reach out enough, I had to go looking for them”.

Speaking on Neo’s work this year, Devey admitted that he personally has not felt much outreach from the current Entertainments Officer. He did credit the UV light party as being a well-run event but one that he only knew about from a friend and feels this highlights the shortcomings in event advertisement.

Devey’s manifesto references the unfair pressure put on students by the cost of living crisis. He hopes consistent events can be a “safety net “ to ensure there are frequent events that students can rely on regardless of outside pressures.

Ellen Clusker – News Editor