Longford native Síona Cahill (25), currently Deputy President of USI and Vice President for Equality and Citizenship, has been elected to lead the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) for the 2018-2019 term at the annual Congress in Galway. The Union represents over 374,000 students across Ireland.
Cahill is a graduate of a BCL Law and Sociology of Maynooth University and served two terms as Maynooth University Students’ Union Vice President for Welfare and Equality before being elected to the national position with the USI.
Speaking after the election, Cahill said:
“In 2018-2019, students will be a force to be reckoned with in the battle ongoing about the future and current funding of higher level education in Ireland. It’s time the Oireachtas reveal which model they recommend before our entire educational landscape collapses. With the Technological Universities enshrined into law, we must protect Students’ Unions and their ethos by working closely with allies in other unions. At all levels of higher education, we must ensure students are at the centre of decision making, and we must resist absolutely the commodification of education in Ireland.
“The housing crisis is now rumbling into a rental crisis – pricing students out of accommodation. Students are waiting up to 6 weeks to maybe see a counsellor on campus. It is the very basis of our movement that we create the space to criticise and improve the systems we interact with as students. This will be a core battle into next year, and I am committed to it.”
Cahill went on to say,
“I look forward to working with the students of Ireland, and come July 1st I will be reaching out to organisations and policy makers who share our goals. More importantly, I want to reach out to those who do not share our vision, yet, for an accessible education system in a bid to bring people on side.”
The newly USI Officer Board for 2018-19 is as follows:
- President – Síona Cahill (Originally Maynooth Students’ Union, presently USI Officer Board)
- Vice President for Campaigns – Michelle Byrne (Originally Waterford IT Students’ Union, presently USI Officer Board)
- Vice President for Academic Affairs – Oisín Hassan (Originally Queens University Belfast Students’ Union, presently USI Officer Board)
- Vice President for Welfare – Damien McClean (TCD Students’ Union)
- Vice President for Equality and Citizenship – Aisling Cusack (Originally IT Tallaght Students’ Union, presently USI Officer Board)
- Vice President for the Border, Midland and Western Region – Barry Clohessy (IT Sligo Students’ Union)
- Vice President for the Southern Region – Lorna Fitzpatrick (IT Carlow Students’ Union)
- Vice President for the Dublin Region – Colm O’Halloran (Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union)
- Vice President for the Irish Language – Aoife Deasy (Saint Angela’s College Sligo Students’ Union)