All currently operating National Affairs policies

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

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 Sexual orientation screening negates the possibility of many potential blood donors based on outdated evidence and research.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.

15 NA 3 Relationships with Trades Unions

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.

Congress therefore mandates
the USI President to enter into negotiations with stakeholder trade unions in the primary, secondary and third level education system towards building a common platform on Education for the next General Election. Proposed USI Motions

 

15 NA 4 Student Supports for Prisoners

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.

 

15 NA 5 Traveller ethnicity

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. 

 

15 NA 6 Debt write-down for Ireland

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.

15 NA 7 Alcohol Advertising in Sport

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.


15 NA9 Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill
Congress notes:
The Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 has seemed to have fallen by the way side since the resignation of the former Minister for Justice. The proposed Bill would allow certain convictions to become “Spent” after a period of between 3 and 7 years. Simply put the Bill would allow people convicted of crimes that carry non-custodial sentences to act as if their convictions had not existed.

Congress further notes:
The limitations placed upon people that received convictions’ for minor offences. Even with a minor offence people can be impeded in gaining Visas for certain countries and can also detrimentally affect their employment prospects throughout their lifetime.
In Ireland we currently punish people for life no matter how minor the offence committed. This legislation is of enormous importance to the thousands of people in Ireland who have difficulty accessing work, education/training and even home insurance for one stupid mistake, usually made when they were younger (aged 18-21), for which they received a conviction such as a fine or probation, and for which they continue to be punished for the rest of their lives.

This legislation is not about letting people off; it is about giving people a second chance, after they have served their punishment (whether a fine, probation, community service or custodial sentence) and after they have desisted from offending behaviour for a period of 3-7 years. It is in everybody’s interest that society encourages people to move on from offending behaviour.

Congress mandates
the Vice President for Equality and Citizenship to lobby the current Minister for Justice to put this Bill to the Dáil so that it may be passed and written into legislation.
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

 

14 NA 1         LIVING WAGE CAMPAIGN

Congress notes:

That the Living Wage is the minimum hourly rate at which one can live on without fear of poverty. Eurostat statistics show that 20.7% of the workforce receive low pay.

Congress also notes that:

  • There is a strong campaign in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for a living wage and that the current living wage rate in London is £8.55 (€10.25); outside of London the rate stands at £7.45 (€8.95). Over 100 high street businesses in the UK support the living wage
  • In Denmark it costs an employer €39.61 for each employee per hour, while in Ireland it costs €24.57. Research also shows that business profits in Ireland have increased by 21% since 2007, at a much faster pace than anywhere else in Europe. The argument that employers can’t afford to pay a living wage should be dismissed in the context of lower-than-European-average labour costs, high increases in business profits, and the increased benefits to business of paying a living wage.

Congress believes:

  • Students and workers have the right to be able to afford to live and not just survive.
  • The introduction of a living wage would be a strong commitment to decent living in our society and enable workers to afford the basic requirements of everyday living.
  • The living wage not only ensures that the employees are lifted out of poverty, it is also beneficial for the employer. We believe that a living wage improves retention rates, reduces absenteeism and produces a higher level of staff morale.

Congress further believes:

  • That the education sector should be amongst the most progressive employers in the country.
  • Education institutions and students’ unions have a civic and societal obligation to pay their staff a fair wage for a fair day’s work.
  • Education institutions should commit to paying a living wage.

Congress mandates:

  • The USI President to call for a living wage in Ireland for all of society.
  • The USI Officer Board to support students’ unions who commit to paying the living wage and lobby their institutions to do the same.
  • The USI President to continue to collaborate with trade unions to work in partnership for students and workers.

14 NA 2         ZERO HOUR CONTRACTS

Congress notes with concern:

The problems of Zero Hour Contracts, seeing them as exploitative, precarious and disproportionately altering the relationship between employers and employees, many of whom are students.

Congress regrets:

That this has additional problems in relation to families/ single parents, given the difficulties of combining Zero Hour Contracts and childcare.

Congress mandates:

USI to confirm its opposition to Zero Hour Contracts, and work with the trade union movements and sympathetic political parties to bring about the abolition of ZHC.

 

14 NA 3         CORPORATION TAX IN IRELAND

Congress notes:

That the corporation tax in Ireland stands at 12.5%

Congress further notes:

That many companies do not pay this rate of tax

Congress notes:

The potential damage raising the corporation tax could have on investment in the country.

Congress recognises:

That increasing the corporation tax, based on the current system, would likely not yield a proportionate tax take.

Congress mandates:

The USI to lobby the government to bring about a situation corporations pay a closer to the effective rate of 12.5% Corporation tax which is already quite low by comparison to other nations.

 

14 NA 4 PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Congress notes:

The year on year cut backs to Public Transport funding in Ireland.

Congress further notes:

The constant hikes in the cost of using Public Transport with no apparent improvement of service.

Congress notes with concern:

The decreased availability and increased cost of accommodation for students forcing more students to commute to college.

Congress recognises:

The cost of public transport for students in Ireland is significantly higher than in other European countries.

Congress mandates:

The President and the Vice President for Welfare to lobby the relevant bodies including the Minister for Transport to provide improved student discounts on all forms of public transport, and to lobby for increased Nitelink bus services mid-week and to report to Council on both issues by September 2014.

14 NA 5         OPT-OUT ORGAN DONATION

Congress notes:

The importance of organ donation within this country in saving lives.

Congress applauds:

The usage of organ donation cards and the promotion of organ donation within the “Irish Donor Network”.

Congress further applauds:

The implementation of an “opt out scheme” for organ donation in neighboring European countries.

Congress believes:

That further actions should be taken to lobby for an opt out scheme to be introduced in Ireland.

Congress therefore mandates:

USI President and VP for Welfare to lobby relevant parties for the promotion of an opt-out scheme in relation to organ donation.

 

14 NA 6         ACCOMMODATION STANDARDS & AVAILABILITY

Congress notes:

That accommodation is a right not a privilege. The shortage of reasonably priced rental accommodation in Dublin, as well as in Ireland in general.

 

 

Congress therefore mandates:

The President to lobby the appropriate national bodies for large-scale investment in student accommodation.

Congress also mandates:

The President, VP Welfare and VP Equality & Citizenship to run a campaign promoting to landlords the benefits of having students as tenants.

 

14 NA 7         STUDY ON THE LEGALISATION OF CANNABIS IN IRELAND

Congress notes:

The growing support for the legalisation of cannabis both for recreational and medical use in Ireland.

Congress further notes:

That many other countries and states have legalised the use of cannabis and this has furthered research and evidence regarding the effects of legalisation upon many aspects of society.

Congress affirms:

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

Congress mandates:

The Vice President for Welfare to conduct a non-biased study on the potential positive and negative effects on society including a focus on the student body in Ireland if cannabis is legalised. This study must be completed before USI considers taking a stance on the legalisation of cannabis.

 

14 NA 8         PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING

Congress notes:

Recent criticisms of RTÉ have called into question the role of public service broadcasting as a whole.

Congress also notes:

That public service broadcasting is a real success story in Britain and Germany in particular.

Congress affirms:

That we ought to be clear as a society that we don’t need to do away with Public Service Broadcasting. Rather, we just need to do it better.

 

Congress believes:

In a model of Public Service Broadcasting that reflects the current issues and views of our communities and which provides a platform for democracy, citizenship and the arts.

Congress also believes:

That RTÉ has failed to really offer this to Irish society.

Congress mandates:

The President and VP Equality & Citizenship to lobby the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources for a root and branch review of RTÉ, with a view to achieving a better public broadcasting service for Irish civil society.

Congress further mandates:

The President to investigate the feasibility of a campaign aimed at lobbying for a better public broadcasting service in collaboration with interested parties and to report back to National Council by the 1st of October 2014.

14 NA 9         TENANTS’ RIGHTS

Congress note:

The ongoing difficulties within some parts of the Irish property market with both the quality and quantity of private rented accommodation.

Congress further notes:

The difficulties that student unions face in attempting to increase the minimum standard of housing through their own in-house efforts or via their college residence office.

Congress affirms:

Where possible it is best for student unions to share best practice on how to enforce tenants’ rights and improve the vetting of advertised rented accommodation.

Congress mandates:

That the Vice-President for Welfare compiles a report on the various mechanisms for vetting rented accommodation in an effort to share best practice.

Congress further mandates:

That the Vice-President for Welfare includes as part of the Rent Book or separate guide, best practice on how to enforce tenants’ rights.

 

 

 

13 NA 1         VOTES AT 16

Congress notes:

Previous mandates 11 / NA 2 which has ensured USI hold regular voter registration campaigns, 11 / NA 5 which calls for a more streamlined approach towards voter registration in the form of an Electoral Commission.

Congress further notes:

That the voting age for all national elections and referendums in Ireland is currently 18 years old.

Congress observes:

The Council of Europe has called upon its 47 member states to start the process towards lowering the electoral age to the age of 16.

Congress recognises:

That having a student population who are participating in political decisions and the voting process can be an effective lobbying tool when interacting with public representatives.

Congress believes:

That lowering the voting age in Ireland to 16 years old could improve the interaction of students with the political system and could improve their engagement with society right from the time they begin in higher education.

Congress mandates:

The VP Equality and Citizenship to lobby for the legal voting age in Ireland to be reduced to 16 years old. They should collaborate with the European Youth Forum, Spun Out and other relevant organisations where possible and interact with the Constitutional Convention. This mandate should be completed within three years or until the voting age is lowered; whichever is reached first.

 

13 NA 5         CROKE PARK AGREEMENT

Congress notes:

That current USI policy calls for the re-negotiation of the Croke Park agreement, while still endeavouring to protect the rights of public sector employees.

Congress believes:

That a situation has developed whereby new entrants to the public service are paid significantly less than those employed prior to the signing of the Croke Park Agreement, in order to ensure protection for current workers.

Congress further mandates:

The USI President to lobby that as part of these re-negotiations that the pay gap and inequities

which have now formulated between newer entrants and those staff previously in place should be addressed.

Congress further mandates:

The USI President to take a stance that across the entire public service, not just in Higher Education, that the unfair imbalance and treatment of young people and graduates be looked at as a priority.

13 NA 6         RESEARCH INTO THE CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS OF THE CURRENT CRISIS

Congress mandates

Officerboard to lobby the government to initiate and release funds to fund PhD scholarships who would look into both causes/solutions of the current crisis and debt reduction.

 

13 NA 7         WASTE IN PUBLIC SPENDING

Congress notes with regret:

The considerable waste of public monies which in many ways has categorised the country’s recent economic crash.

Congress condemns:

The culture of greed and excess which has prevailed in many sectors of our governance and society which allowed such waste to occur.

Congress observes:

The existence of State-funded taxpayer lobby groups in other countries which act to try and ensure that public money is spent in a more prudent and efficient manner.

Congress mandates:

The USI President to call on the establishment of a similar organisation in Ireland to act  in the best interests of the general taxpayer in budgetary lobbying and discussions, and for USI to have representation on such a group on behalf of young people in Irish society.

 

 

 

 

 

12 NA 1         CHILDRENS’ RIGHTS

Congress notes:

The absence of legislation in Ireland in relation to the protection of children.

Congress further notes:

The contents of the Cloyne, Ryan and Murphy Reports.

Congress recognises:

That we, as a society, fail to protect vulnerable children.

Congress therefore mandates:

USI Officerboard to actively support the proposed referendum on children’s’ rights, to work with Campaign for Children and other organisations in favour of the referendum, and to actively encourage and facilitate MOs to get involved in the campaign. This motion shall continue to be in force for the next three years or until such time as the referendum has passed.

 

12 NA 2         CROKE PARK AGREEMENT

Congress notes:

The Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 (Croke Park Agreement)  imposes a moratorium on public sector recruitment and guarantees no compulsory pay cuts to public sector staff until at least 2014.

Congress notes with concern:

The lack of employment for graduates resulting from the recruitment freeze stipulated by the Croke Park agreement and that the public sector pay freezes have resulted in less money being available in the budgets of Educational Institutions for non-pay expenditure such as student services.

Congress believes:

That the Croke Park agreement has had a negative effect on students’ education and employment prospects.

Congress mandates:

That USI calls for the renegotiation of the Croke Park Agreement.

Congress further mandates:

The President to pursue a renegotiation of the Croke Park agreement at the Lobby of the Oireachtas & to propose a more student-friendly alternative which will still endeavour to respect the rights of public sector employees.

 

12 NA 3         PRIVATE SCHOOLS

Congress recognises:

That we as a student movement we must strive for true equality of opportunity at all levels in the Irish education system.  We also recognise that whether or not a child will make it to third-level education is very often determined by the quality of their secondary education.

Congress further recognises:

That many potential students have not made it to third-level because they come from areas of socio-economic disadvantage, and thus cannot afford private schooling, or because the public schools in their areas are not adequate.

Congress notes:

The growth of grind schools and private secondary schools in Ireland in the past two decades, and that this growth of the private school sector has led to a divided student body at second-level and beyond, and has also resulted in many good public schools struggling to fill places and stay open.

Congress further notes:

That students attending private schools have access to an education that is to a large extent publicly-funded, but which is only accessible to those who can pay the private fees which run into the thousands each year.  This means that all taxpayers are being asked to subsidise an education system that is only accessible to those children lucky enough to be born into relatively well-off families, and that this private education puts them at a great advantage in attaining higher CAO points and thus places on third-level courses.

Congress mandates Officer Board:

To campaign for the removing of state funding for private primary and secondary schools, and for any monies saved in this process to be ring fenced and re-invested in the wider, publicly-funded and publicly-accessible education system including primary, secondary and third level education.  This should be completed within the next year.

 

12 NA 5         REFORM OF THE IRISH CONSTITUTION

Congress notes:

The inherently Catholic ethos of the Irish Constitution/Bunreacht na hÉireann.

Congress further notes: 

USI policy in the areas of marriage equality and abortion.

Congress notes with concern:

That the Catholic nature of the Constitution prohibits any legislation which may seek positive, fair and just advancement in these areas, areas in which USI has campaigned tirelessly for decades.

Congress believes:

That the Constitution of Ireland should be wholly secular in nature, and that no one religion deserves constitutional supremacy over all others, nor should any one religion influence the laws of the State.

Congress mandates:

The Vice President for Campaigns and the Vice President for Equality & Citizenship to lobby for a seat for USI on the soon-to-be established National Constitutional Review Committee and to make known USI’s desire for a secular Constitution, lobbying to ensure that areas such as the definition of marriage etc. are in line with USI policies. This mandate must be fulfilled prior to the national Constitutional review taking place.

12 NA 7         ANTI-COUNTERFEIT TRADE AGREEMENT (ACTA)

Congress notes:

The importance of copyright law and the protection of intellectual property rights and the need of the Irish government to act on this.

Congress notes with concern:

The lack of public discussion on the ACTA Treaty and how it would be implemented in Ireland.

Congress further notes with concern:

The potential impact of any legislation around ACTA on students’ work, freedom of speech and civil liberties.

Congress therefore mandates:

The VP/Campaigns to campaign and lobby on behalf of the students of Ireland to prevent the ratification of the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement and the introduction of legislation to enforce it in Ireland.

Congress further mandates:

The VP/Campaigns to lobby and campaign for the next three years for a wider discussion on the issue of copyright infringement and counterfeit trade prior to the Irish government putting in place any legislation in this area.

 

12 NA 8         PUBLIC & CIVIL SERVICE RECRUITMENT EMBARGO

Congress notes:

The difficulties caused by the current Public & Civil Service Recruitment Embargo and the employment control framework in operation in the Higher Education Sector.

 

Congress further notes:

That Ireland has a huge problem with Graduate Unemployment and that many of our best and brightest are being forced to emigrate.

Congress therefore mandates:

The President and VP/Campaigns to lobby for a root and branch review of all areas of the public and civil service. This review would enable the Government to create a public and civil service that is appropriate for a modern Ireland. By creating a modern civil and public service the Government would be in a position to lift the embargo and recruit graduates into frontline services and other areas appropriate for a modern Ireland.

12 / NA 9      GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT & EMIGRATION

Congress welcomes:

The progress made to the date on the implementation of the USI Reigniting the Smart Economy Policy adopted at Congress 2011.

Congress also welcomes:

The announcement of the Job Bridge, National Internship Scheme in June 2011.

Congress notes with grave concern:

Recent figures that over 100 Irish people are emigrating every day. Large scale emigration has hugely negative social and economic consequences for communities across the country.

Congress mandates:

The President and VP Campaigns to launch a large scale campaign to force Government to tackle the problems of Graduate Unemployment & Emigration and to create the appropriate environment for job creation.

Congress further mandates:

  • The President and VP Campaigns to lobby for the following amendments to the Job Bridge Scheme.
  • A reduction in the Job Bridge criteria from 12 weeks to 4 weeks.
  • The modification of the Social Welfare Code to enable employers to give a modest
  • stipend to interns.
  • That Job Bridge interns under the age of 25 qualify for the maximum rate of Job
  • Seekers Benefit.
  • Vetting of Internships on Job Bridge site.

 

This mandate shall expire after a period of 3 years if it is not re-approved by Congress.

12 NA 10      NATIONAL PROPERTY SERVICES REGULATORY AUTHORITY

Congress notes:

The findings of the Auctioneering/Estate Agency Review Group established by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform, that the existing statutory framework for the property sector in the Republic of Ireland is outdated, inappropriate and inadequate for the present day market and does not provide any ongoing official supervisory, disciplinary or consumer redress system.

Congress further notes:

That to address these shortcomings, the Review Group recommended the establishment of a Regulatory Authority to achieve uniformity and transparency in licensing, regulation and provision of information to the public in relation to the property sector.

Congress understands:

That the Minister for Justice and Law Reform has established the National Property Services Regulatory Authority (NPSRA) as the agency to carry out this function.

Congress believes:

That this is a hugely positive step by Government to regulate the property sector. At a time where many businesses are facing liquidation, receivership, and other financial difficulties, adequate governance is required more than ever. Furthermore, the enactment of this legislation to empower this regulatory authority would provide a significant support to our members along with all tenants nationwide.

Congress mandates the President and Vice President for Welfare:

To voice the support of the USI; before the end of the calendar year 2012, for the establishment of the National Property Services Regulatory Authority (NPSRA).

Congress further mandates the President and Vice President for Welfare:

To lobby the Minister for Justice and Law Reform; before the end of the calendar year 2012, to ensure the swift and secure enactment of this legislation.

 

12 NA 10      MORTGAGE REPAYMENTS

Congress notes with concern:

Recent figures that 1 in 7 householders are struggling to repay mortgages due to the economic crisis.

Congress further notes:

That many students and families across the country have to make stark choices as to whether to

pay the mortgages, pay colleges fees or simply put food on the table to provide for their families.

Congress also notes:

That many families are not in a position to meet mortgage repayments because they have been made redundant or have had to close their business due to the economic crisis.

At present, families are bearing the full responsibility, that is losing their homes, for what can now be described as excessive lending by financial institutions. It is estimated that 36,000 mortgages are in arrears of three months or more and that 17,000 households are receiving mortgage interest supplement.

Congress is concerned: 

That the financial crisis being experienced by students and families across the country is resulting increased levels of stress, anxiety and mental health issues.

Congress mandates:

The President, VP Equality and VP Campaigns to work with external organisations to campaign and lobby the Government to introduce measures that support families in situations where they are unable to repay their mortgage and to ensure that families do not lose their homes.

 

12 NA 12      EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS CAMPAIGN

Congress notes:

The focus being put on producing work-ready, world-ready graduates by the 3rd Level sector.

Congress further notes:

The lack of clarity for many students around what graduate recruiters and employers are actively seeking in graduates

Congress mandates:

The Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance Officer and the Campaigns Officer to roll out a nationwide campaign before June 1st 2013 with the aim to inform students on what skills make them more employable and opportunities they have to develop them.

Congress further mandates:

The Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance Officer to investigate the feasibility of a national career guidance database/website for 3rd and 4th level students.

 

 

 

11 NA 1         ABORTION LEGISLATION

Congress notes:

The ruling in December 2010 by the European Court of Human Rights which said that the Irish State had violated the rights of one of the plaintiffs in the “A, B & C v. Ireland” case.

Congress further notes:

That the “Attorney General v. X” case in 1992 highlighted a lack of clarity in the constitution as it gives equality in the right to life of both the mother and the unborn child, and recommended that legislation be introduced in this regard.

Congress mandates the Equality Officer:

To campaign for, and lobby the Government to legislate for abortion in line with the “Attorney General v. X” case judgement.

 

11 NA 2         VOTER REGISTRATION CAMPAIGN

Congress notes:

The unusual political situation in the year 2010/2011 put USI under a lot of pressure as regards a Voter Registration Campaign in the run-up to a General Election.

Congress believes:

That a Voter Registration Campaign would be more feasible operationally if it was carried out at the start of the year instead of in the run up to the election.

Congress further notes:

That to encourage people to vote an organisation must be registered. If CO’s run a Voter Registration Campaign, it must be done through USI, who are registered.

Congress mandates USI Officer Board:

To run a Voter Registration Campaign every September/October, to provide help to CO’s running Voter Registration Campaigns, to make officers available on the ground to COs, and to approve all CO information etc for any Voter Registration Campaign.

11 NA 3         An Ghaeilge don Ardteistiméireacht

Aithníonn an chomhdháil:

Go bhfuil an Ghaeilge mar ábhar éigeantach don Ardteistiméireacht faoi láthair

Aithníonn an chomhdháil ar lean:

Go bhfuil roinnt fadhbanna ann leis an curaclam mar atá sé agus roinnt moltaí ar conas gur féidir linn é a deisiú.

Creideann an chomhdháil go láidir:

Gur cheart don Ghaeilge fanacht mar croí ábhar éigeantach don Ardteistiméireacht

Aithníonn an chomhdháil le himní:

Go mbeidh tionchar uafásach ag aon athrú ar staideas na Gaeilge don Ardteistiméireacht ar cúrsaí tríú leibhéil trí Ghaeilge agus todhchaí an teanga.

Sainordaíonn an Comhdháil Oifigeach na Gaeilge agus Oifigeach na bhFeachtas:

Le feachtas a chur ar bun chun Athchóiriú iomlán a bhaint amach ar curaclam na Gaeilge don Ardteistiméireacht trí í a roinnt i dhá ábhar

  1. Teanga na Gaeilge- ábhar éigeantach le béim ar scríobh agus labhairt na Gaeilge
  2. Saíocht agus Litríocht na Gaeilge- ábhar roghnach le béim ar filíocht, litríocht agus stair na Gaeilge.

 

Irish Language for the Leaving Certificate

Congress note:

That the Irish Language is currently a compulsory subject for the Leaving Certificate.

Congress further notes:

That there have been many problems with the Irish curriculum in schools and many suggestions on how to fix the current curriculum

Congress strongly believes:

That Irish should remain a central & compulsory subject for the Leaving Certificate.

Congress notes with concern:

That making the Irish language optional at Leaving Certificate level will have a disastrous impact on third level Irish language courses and the future of the language

Congress mandates the Irish Language Officer and Campaigns Officer:

To campaign for a revamp of the Irish language for the leaving certificate by splitting the subject into two subjects.

 

  1. Irish Language- a compulsory subject with emphasis on speaking and writing the language
  2. Culture and Literature of Irish Language- an optional subject with emphasis on poetry, literature and history of the language

 

11 NA 4         GAELSCOILEANNA

 

Aithníonn an Chomhdháil:

An tábhacht atá ag Gaelscoileanna de todhchaí an teanga agus an fás ollmhór sa méid Gaelscoileanna le 20 bhliain anuas.

Aithníonn an chomhdháil le himní:

Go bhfuil géarghá le scoileanna nua in áiteanna áirithe agus go bhfuil éileamh ann i gcomhair Gaelscoileanna

Aithníonn an chomhdháil ar lean le himní:

Go bhfuil tuismitheoirí ina dhiaidh scoileanna a bhunú iad féin gan aitheantas nó airgead on rialtas.

Dá bhrí sinn sainordaíonn an chomhdháil seo an Oifigeach Oideachais agus Oifigeach na Gaeilge:

Chun stocaireacht a dhéanamh ar an Aire Oideachais le fáil réidh leis lánchosc atá ann faoi láthair agus le cinnte a dhéanamh go bhfuil an Ghaeilge curtha chun cinn tríd an córas oideachais ar fad

Congress recognises:

The importance of Gaelscoileanna to the development of the Irish language and the dramatic increase in the numbers of Gaelcoileanna in the past 20 years.

Congress believes:

That every Irish citizen should be given the choice to Irish-medium education.

Congress notes with concern:

That in certain areas there is a need for new schools urgently and a great demand for Gaelscoileanna.

Congress further notes with concern:

That parents have had to take matters into to their own hands and set up unrecognised privately funded schools

Congress therefore mandates the Education Officer and the Irish Language Officer:

To lobby the government and the Minister for Education to abolish the current embargo and to ensure the promotion of the Irish language throughout the education system.

 

11 NA 5         ROLLING REGISTER

Congress notes:

That the ‘door to door’ method of maintaining the electoral register currently used in Ireland

means there is little public confidence in the current method of voter registration.

Congress further notes:

That responsibility for compiling the electoral register lies with individual local authorities rather than a central body. While this may seem like a sensible delegation of responsibilities, in reality the opposite is true. It has been shown that the current method of voter registration allows for:

  • Varying degrees of priority afforded to maintaining data;
  • Wide variety of practices among registration authorities;
  • Insufficient field-workers and door-to-door visits to obtain the necessary information.

Congress believes:

That transferring responsibility for managing the register away from the local authorities to a newly created Electoral Commission operating an individual, rolling register would greatly increase the accuracy of the electoral register. Furthermore, it would make the process of registering students in third level colleges much easier as only one authority would be involved in the registration process.

Congress mandates the Deputy President, Education Officer and Area Officers:

To lobby for the creation of an Electoral Commission that would facilitate an individual, rolling register to ensure that the electoral register is up to date and accurate going forward.

 

11NA 6          MINIMUM WAGE

Congress notes:

That students lucky enough to secure part-time employment to supplement their income while engaged in education often earn the minimum wage.

Congress condemns:

The decision of the outgoing Government to cut the minimum wage level to €7.65 per hour.

Congress further notes:

That this decreased wage will have severe impacts on the delicate balance between academic study and work, and will force many students to work even longer hours to the detriment of their academic performance.

Congress therefore mandates Officer Board:

To lobby and campaign for the restoration of the minimum wage to its pre-2010 level.

 

 

11 NA 7         JOBSEEKERS’ ALLOWANCE & WORK PLACEMENT PROGRAMMES

Congress notes:

That from January 2011, the Jobseeker’s Allowance maximum payments are as follows:

Age 18 – 19: €100

Age 20 – 21: €100

Age 22 – 24: €144

Age 25 +: €188

Congress notes:

That the exceptions to reduced payments to under 25s are:

  • Claimants with dependent children.
  • People transferring to Jobseeker’s Allowance immediately after finishing their entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit.
  • People transferring from Disability Allowance to Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Where an existing Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant is assessed at the higher rate of allowance gets work but loses that job and is back on Jobseeker’s Allowance within 12 months.
  • People under 25 participating in a course of education, training or Community Employment. However, when the course ends you will return to an age related JA payment, if you were getting one before you started the course.
  • You were at least 20 years of age on 30 December 2009 and became unemployed on or before 30 December 2009.
  • You were 18 or 19 on 30 December 2009 and you became unemployed on or before 29 April 2009.
  • You are 22 to 24 and taking part in the Work Placement Programme run by FÁS.

Congress further notes:

The recommendations in the USI policy document “Re-Igniting the Smart Economy” include the provision of 20,000 graduate work placement places, and that the 2011 Budget included provisions for the creation of 15,000 places.

Congress believes:

That reducing social welfare payments purely on the basis of age is discriminatory.

That the limiting of increased payments for those taking part in the FÁS Work Placement Programme to the ages of 22-24 is discriminatory and should be extended to all under 25s as long as reduced payments for under 25s persists.

Congress mandates:

The President, Deputy President and Equality Officer to campaign for the abolishment of reduced payments for those on the Jobseeker’s Allowance based entirely on the recipients’ age.

And until such time as reduced payments for those on the Jobseeker’s Allowance based entirely on the recipients’ age are abolished, to campaign for the extension of increased payments to those on the FÁS Work Placement Programme to be extended to all those below 25, and to include those who have applied for the FÁS Work Placement Programme.  They should also lobby and campaign for those participating in any national work placement programmes outside of FÁS to similarly be eligible for increased payments.

09 NA 4         Elections Campaign

Congress applauds:

The current USI policy on increasing the student vote.

Congress mandates:

The President to immediately begin lobbying all political parties with regard to student issues, specifically funding of third level education.

Congress further mandates:

Officer Board to prepare information regarding each party’s policies which relate to students so as to inform USI’s members.

Congress also mandates:

The President and Officer Board to immediately begin a campaign to improve student access to voting – through lobbying for weekend voting, on campus polling stations and re-instating the right to be registered at home and at college.