International Affairs

In accordance with Constitutional Provisions in Article 6.3 of the USI Constitution, some motions in International Affairs and National Affairs sections sent to Congress require a ‘two-thirds plus one’ vote to pass into policy. These motions are: IA1

 

IA1 Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Proposed by: VP Campaigns

Proposed by VP Campaigns

Please note that this motion would require a vote of ‘two-thirds plus one’ in favour to pass into policy

Congress notes with concern:

the on-going negotiations between the European Union and the United States in relation to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and the potential impact that it could have on Irish higher education, democracy and wider society.

Congress does not support:

the lowering of any EU standards in regards to the environment, food safety, animal welfare and workers’ rights.

In addition, Congress is especially concerned that under TTIP, the US would be allowed to export shale gas to Europe thus increasing fracking in the US and allowing US companies to challenge fracking bans in Europe under the Investor-State Dispute Settlement clause.

While Congress supports the EU’s efforts in job creation we believe that TTIP jeopardises the health and wellbeing of those living in the EU and therefore call on the EU to use these negotiations to encourage the US to raise its standards rather than lowering its own.

Congress affirms

that while it does not oppose free trade in principle, TTIP does not amount to a traditional free trade agreement but rather threatens to constitute an historic infringement upon democratic governance.

Conference mandates:

Officer Board to campaign against TTIP and to engage with like-minded organisations in Ireland and across Europe on the matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Affairs

 

In accordance with Constitutional Provisions in Article 6.3 of the USI Constitution, some motions in International Affairs and National Affairs sections sent to Congress require a ‘two-thirds plus one’ vote to pass into policy. These motions are: NA 2, NA 4, NA 5, NA 6, NA 7.

NA 1 NMBI Registration Fee

Proposed by: DCUSU

Congress condemns

The outrageous 50% increase in the registration fee by the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

Congress believes

this represents another economic attack upon under paid, under-valued and over worked nurses and midwives.

Congress stands in solidarity with

the INMO, the PNA in their campaign to stop this increase.

Congress therefore mandates

the USI President, Vice-President for Equality & Citizenship and Vice President for Campaigns to work alongside the above unions in this campaign.

 

NA 2 Review of Best Practice with Regard to MSM Blood Donation

Proposed by: DITSU & Equality and Citizenship Working Group.

Please note that this motion would require a vote of ‘two-thirds plus one’ in favour to pass into policy

USI Congress Notes:

The growing support for the change of blood donation criteria, with particular reference to MSM criteria.

USI Congress Recognises:

  • 3,000 donations are needed every week
  • Over 1,000 people receive transfusions every week in Ireland
  • Only 3% of the Irish population give blood, providing blood for a population of over 4 million
  • Only 5% of the Irish population eligible to give blood do so

USI Congress further Notes:

That many other countries and states, such as recently the United States of America, have changed their policy regarding the donation of blood by MSM donors. Sexual orientation screening negates the possibility of many potential blood donors based on outdated evidence and research.

USI Congress Affirms:

Where possible it is best to use existing evidence and research to inform decisions and stances upon issues.

NA 3 Relationships with Trades Unions

Proposed by: DCUSU

Congress commends

the alliance building with education trade unions by USI Officerboard the past year.

Congress believes

that these relationships will be invaluable not only in the context of solidarity within the education sector but also in the context of the next General Election.

Congress believes

that the Education system as a whole deserves protection and that it is incumbent on stakeholder unions to fight against the egregious attack that has occurred during the austerity period.

NA 4 Student Supports for Prisoners

Proposed by: Education Working Group

Please note that this motion would require a vote of ‘two-thirds plus one’ in favour to pass into policy

Congress notes

That prisoners in the Irish prison system can find it difficult to qualify for student supports when applying to further or higher education.

Congress Further Notes

Improved access to education in the prison system means an increasing number of people are applying to go to college while incarcerated or upon release and a lack of access to supports is acting as a barrier to this.

Congress Mandates

The VP AAQA to work with the relevant bodies to alleviate and remove these restrictions.

 

NA 5 Traveller ethnicity

Proposed by: the Equality and Citizenship Working Group

Please note that this motion would require a vote of ‘two-thirds plus one’ in favour to pass into policy

Congress notes

That Ireland’s statutory human rights and equality bodies including the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority have concluded that Travellers fulfill the relevant sociological and anthropological criteria for recognition as a distinct ethnic group.

Congress also notes

That Travellers are recognised as a distinct ethnic minority in Britain, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and as separate from non-traveller Irish people.

Congress further notes

The recommendations and findings emanating from the Council of Europe and the United Nations calling on the State to recognise travellers’ ethnic status.

Congress believes

That the State cannot continue to deny Travellers their right to self-identify as members of an ethnic group.

Congress therefore mandates

The VP Equality and Citizenship to engage in a campaign calling on the Irish government to recognise the ethnic status of Irish Travellers.

 

NA 6 Debt write-down for Ireland

Proposed by: VP Campaigns

Please note that this motion would require a vote of ‘two-thirds plus one’ in favour to pass into policy

Congress acknowledges:

That the Union’s core principles of education as a public good, equity of access and equality of opportunity, among the funding of other essential public services require a significant investment on the part of the state.

Congress notes with grave concern:

The extent to which the Irish state and its people have been saddled with EU-wide debt, accounting for €64bn in total.

Congress also notes with concern:

The lack of progress within government on this level of debt and the impact in particular that this has on the ability of the state to address the funding deficit in higher education.

Congress affirms:

Its opposition to the way in which Ireland has been disproportionately hindered by the total debt of the European Union.

Congress supports:

calls for an EU-wide conference on debt relief, akin to the one that spurred on the Marshall Plan after the Second World War and provided debt relief for Germany.

Congress mandates:

The VP Campaigns and President to lobby and campaign in opposition to the grossly unfair debt imposed on Ireland by the ECB, the EU and the IMF, with a view to working alongside like-minded organisations to achieving a debt-write down.

NA 7 Alcohol Advertising in Sport

Proposed by USI Vice President Welfare

Please note that this motion would require a vote of ‘two-thirds plus one’ in favour to pass into policy

 

Congress notes

The influence alcohol advertising in sport has on young people.

Congress notes with concern

In January 2015, plans to allow a legislative clause which would eventually allow for the banning of alcohol sponsorship of sports have been dropped.

Congress mandates

The Vice President Welfare to campaign with Alcohol Action Ireland for such a ban to be introduced.

Congress Mandates:

Both the VP AAQA and the VP Equality and citizenship to investigate the experiences of international students on Irish campuses and prepare a document outlining best practices (nationally and/or internationally) of encouraging international student engagement in the Irish Student Movement and in the student experience in general. The documents recommendations should be submitted for discussion and agreement from MOs within the first two national councils in the academic year