The auditor of UCD Labour Society has told the College Tribune that he was “shocked and surprised” at the protest by UCD Students’ Union, cialis which took place on Tuesday 13th November. The protest involved members of SU council gathering in front of the Agriculture Building to give a “guard of dishonour” to Labour politicians who were attending an event on homelessness and housing in Ireland.
Speakers at the event included Jan O’ Sullivan TD, the Labour party Minister for Housing and Planning, and senator Aideen Hayden, the chairperson of Threshold and a Labour party politician. The council members were instructed by UCD Students’ Union President Rachel Breslin to protest peacefully outside the building and not to block the public meeting from occurring.
UCD Labour auditor Seán Glennon criticised the decision of the Students’ Union to gather outside an event, which was organised to raise awareness about the problems of homelessness in Ireland today.
“We just thought it was a bit tasteless, that this was an event with UCD SVP and UCD Labour, the minister had come out to talk to us about homelessness, it is UCD homeless week, an initiative that UCD students take up. For the Union to protest at it we were very shocked and surprised and we just felt it was in poor taste,” said Glennon.
“I think the SU are completely entitled to protest a politician, especially a minister, but when it happens to be a minister coming out to talk at an event about housing the homeless, during a week dedicated about the problems of homelessness in Irish society, then no, it’s not appropriate.”
UCD Students’ Union President Rachel Breslin has defended the protest while also denying that it was a joint Labour/SVP event. “The event was a Young Labour event that a speaker from SVP attended. The Students’ Union would never have protested an event that was going to raise money for the SVP or any other charity but it is clutching at straws to claim that just because an event run by the youth wing of a political party who has broken countless promises to students which have caused real, tangible harm to our members was going to discuss homelessness then it is a charity event,” said Breslin.
“UCD Labour cannot and should not hide behind the fact that they have turned their back on students and peers in their college who voted Labour because of the promises made prior to the General Election in favour of party loyalty. Students have a right to peaceful protest and they chose to exercise it, the event was allowed go ahead and nobody was prevented from attending. UCD Labour should chose to keep their own Party’s TD’s accountable to promises to students but instead have attacked students and the SU on social media and tried to disrupt the campaign. On a personal note it is hurtful, harmful and a cheap shot to claim that I as President would try and disrupt any charity event, it’s a ludicrous suggestion”
Claims were also made by protesters at the event that they were shoved by Seán Glennon as he exited the Agriculture Building. Glennon told the Tribune that these claims were not true and that there “wasn’t any sort of physical thing, we didn’t put our hands on them, we just were getting by them.” However, the UCD Labour auditor appears to have admitted to shoving UCD student Niall Dunne on a comment thread about the protest on the UCD Students’ Union facebook page.
Rachel Breslin has stated that she was unaware of any shoving that took place and has not received any complaints about the protest from either party.
By Thomas Cullen