Wednesday, March 27, 2013

For Immediate Publication

Roscommon native Joe O’Connor has been elected President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) for 2013/2014. O’Connor has served as the President of GMIT Students’ Union for two years and was previously the Vice President for Welfare. 

Hailing from the small town land of Kilmore, O’Connor has an honours degree in Accounting and a Masters in Strategy and Innovation Management. Both his parents are retired, his father was a van driver and his mother a home and social carer. O’Connor has personal experience of coping with the increasing cost of college, having relied upon the maintenance grant throughout his time in college. He feels that his direct experience of student support services make him ideally suited to the role.

UCD’s Paddy Guiney was elected to the position of Vice President for Campaigns. Guiney has stated that re-affiliating UCD is one of his top priorities.

Results for other positions on USI Officer Board 2013/2014:
VP for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance: Cat O’Driscoll
VP for Welfare: Denise McCarthy
VP for Equality and Citizenship: Laura Harmon
VP for the Border, Midlands and Western Region: Kevin Donoghue
VP for the Southern Region: Ciara Guinan
VP for the Irish Language: Féidhlim Seoighe

O’Connor said:

“I am honoured to have received overwhelming support and a comprehensive mandate from USI Congress today.

With more and more families being priced out of higher education due to ever-increasing fees and dwindling student supports, the need for effective national representation is more acute than ever.

At this time, 10,000 vulnerable students are still waiting on their first maintenance grant payment from SUSI and countless secondary school students wonder if they can afford to attain what should be their right; an education that best equips them to play their part in our country’s recovery.

I have spent the last three years dealing with students facing these enormous difficulties first-hand. These experiences will not only inform my term as USI President but also provide the necessary motivation in our fight to protect access to higher education.

While the challenges ahead will test the student movement like seldom before, I am ready to lead the charge and urge the students of Ireland to join me in the pursuit of a quality and affordable education system.”


For more information contact USI Media and Communications Executive, Ronan Costello, on 085-1164263 or email