Following a majority ‘Re-open Nominations’ vote prevailing in the UCD Students’ Union executive elections, the upcoming By-Elections are seeing significantly more contested races and candidates on the ballot. The Ents Officer role is now facing a contested race between Ciara Moroney, a final year Pharmacology student and Co-Auditor of FoodSoc, and Josh Kerr Hanratty, a second year Irish and French student and the Union’s former LGBTQ+ Campaigns Co-Ordinator.

Below is the College Tribune’s interview with Kerr Hanratty.

1. Why are you running for the role of Ents Officer in the By-Elections? 

Entertaining is in my blood; it is who I am and what I was born to do. Why not share that passion with the wider UCD community by putting it to good use. I have a great love for the entertainment industry, being from a nation so rich in culture and known worldwide for our entertainment. I want to see it flourish. I want to entertain UCD.

2. What are UCD students lacking in the Ents part of being a college student right now? 

I feel like students are lacking larger scale events on campus right now that will draw engagement in events. I don’t mean a full-on festival when I say that. Covid-19 and the effects of the pandemic had a detrimental effect on entertainment as a whole and I appreciate it will take time to get that metaphorical train back to full speed. But I certainly am hopeful; Sarah Michalek provided fantastic events throughout these challenging times with “Mind, Body & Soulé” being the cherry on top. My task will be to keep that momentum blazing from here. 

3. Why did you not run in the initial executive elections?

I have been asked this a lot since I first revealed my intentions to run in the by-elections. I had planned to run the first time around but, unfortunately, fell ill. I had been away on a Gaeltacht trip to Donegal and contracted a really bad chest infection (along with many of the others on the trip). It wasn’t in my best interests for health reasons at the time, but now I am ready and raring to go. Another aspect at the time was my financial situation. I was struggling financially and that overshadowed anything I tried to put my mind to. Luckily, I have a plan in place and have sorted that issue. 

4. What is the strongest part about your manifesto, in your own opinion?

I strongly believe the Anti-Spiking Campaign is the strongest aspect of my manifesto. While some may have varied opinions over events, we all pull together in agreeing that events should be safe places for all. Spiking must be eradicated immediately. My plan is to provide workshops that educate people on how to be aware of spiking on a night out, safety procedures, etc. I want to provide people with the information on how to act should a friend be spiked on a night out. I want to provide enjoyable events, but it is my utmost

5. What skills do you think you have that will transpose well into the role of Ents Officer? 

I am a great listener and I feel like that will be portrayed in the types of events I would run. My background and experiences in entertainment certainly will transpose well into the role of Ents Officer. To be frank, I am an entertainer – I am a drag queen. I have the knowledge of what hypes the masses, of what is trendy and what works. It would be hard to deny that I have strong organisational skills – overseeing the organisation of many events (UCD Drag Brunch for ‘Empower the Family and Comhairle na nÓg colour run to list but a few)

6. What do you think sets you apart from your opponent in the race? 

I have yet to meet Ciara Moroney in person, but regardless of the outcome of the election I would love to work on events in the future with her. I certainly feel like we both bring a unique flare to the election. I can only judge based on the information she has provided thus far on social media. It appears from track record; I have been involved in a more eclectic mix of events. Ciara was/is the auditor of FoodSoc, a society that is for members within UCD. My background deals with varied events both within and outside UCD. These aren’t just events as a means of enjoyment; events I have worked on have been for a charitable cause, have had strong political value or were to raise awareness of poignant issues. Again, I am not trying to be Miss Congeniality here, but my opinion is solely based off campaign information. I feel like my manifesto goes into greater detail on what I want to achieve and the means in which I plan on accomplishing it. Like the topical “RAG Week” – I have reached out to former sabbatical officers to research the barriers to providing one.

7. Could you please provide a short, roughly 75-word bio and summary of the main parts of your manifesto 

My manifesto strives for a fun loving UCD, free from discrimination. Where people can let their hair down without fear. A manifesto that promotes engagement from all demographics and cultures are embraced. Events inclusive of students with disabilities and communication barriers. A nightlife in which people are safe in showing their love for one-another, consensually and enjoyably. These 6 points are only the foundations: 

  1. The introduction of JAM (Just A Minute) Cards.
  2. Níos mó imeachtaí as Gaeilge
  3. “If it’s not green, it can’t be seen”
  4. “Sex and the UCD
  5. Campaign for a safer UCD
  6. Charity Events

Mahnoor Choudhry – Co-Editor