Officer responsible: Vice President for Equality and Citizenship
Proposed By: TU Dublin Students’ Union
That CETA is the Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement that would set up an investor court system between the EU & Canada within Ireland. This would allow businesses to take legal action against the state for punitive damages based on the loss of revenue from Social Policy passed by the Government.
Congress Notes with Immediate Concern:
That the deal is likely to go through in the next couple of weeks and that USI currently does not have a policy based on CETA, however, USI is committed to abolishing direct provision, therefore, the CETA agreement, would slow down, if not completely prevent Direct Provision from being abolished meaningfully with external partners, being Canadian based companies.
Congress Fiercely Opposes:
That this agreement will bring about good, meaningful, or positive change in society, and congress believes that this deal’s passing will be a devastating blow to our climate activism and steps forward over the years.
Congress Notes with Concern:
That USI currently does not have an officer/staff member that deals directly with Sustainability, and the remit, is handled by both the team and lead with the Vice-President for Equality & Citizenship.
The importance of this emergency motion given the developments since February 18th (close of nominations) is as follows:
– 2 Oireachtas Committees to Examine CETA Ahead of Ratification (March 9th)
– Students Against CETA has been set up by member organizations across Ireland;
– UCCSU, – TUDSU – TCDSU – NUIGSU – DCUSU
– And a building movement of Student Against CETA
– The publishing of the White Paper on Ending Direct Provision would directly contravene with the ending of the Direct Provision with partnerships with Businesses such as Aramark, Canadian companies.
Congress Further Notes with Concern:
The amount of work needing to be done on Sustainability, between the SAVES project, The Sustainable Development Goals, CETA, helping MO’s fully realize their full potential in climate activism, and with the implementation of a new event for sustainability, the workload is simply too large for a single officer to lead and is too important and urgent to not have direct representation.
Congress Therefore Mandates:
That USI adopts a radical opposition stance to CETA and will campaign regardless of implementation to safeguard against the implementation of any agreements, trades plans, contracts, etc. of this nature, or similar, and will lobby the departments and relevant officials to suppress situations like these and get them out of governmental policy.
Congress Therefore Further Mandates:
Given the work, CETA will impose from the get-go and the workload that is coming up as previously mentioned that the USI Executive Team, through the 2021/2022 constitutional review, examine the feasibility to implement a new Full-Time Member of the Executive Team, that will look after leading Sustainability, Development, and Climate Activism and in the event they cannot, to hire a full-time staff member to look after these areas in interim.
Proposed by the Equality and Citizenship Working Group
Congress recognises That climate change and global warming is one of the biggest challenges facing the global community at present. Globally, we are already witnessing a steady rise in average temperatures both on land and sea. We can also measure the retreat of glaciers and the incremental increases in sea levels. In Ireland, our weather conditions have undergone significant changes in recent years. the average temperature has increased by 0.7 oC during the period 1890-2013 and according to Ireland’s Climate: The Road Ahead, 2013, a further increase in mean temperature of around 1.5oC above the 1981-2010 mean is anticipated by mid-century.
Congress notes The Irish government needs to take action on climate change and climate injustice in Ireland and the Irish Government need to align itself with its commitments to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and do their part in lowering our carbon emissions to the point where we can limit global climate change to a 1.5ºC average warming target above pre-industrial levels.
Congress Notes with Concern That Ireland was the second country in the world to declare a ‘Climate & Biodiversity Emergency’ in 2019, however, in the exact same year, Ireland exceeded its annual EU emissions target by 5 million tonnes, with little incentivisation to present in order to commit to carbon neutrality and achieving goals set out respectively in both 2030 and 2050, with a particular highlight to exploring the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement being explored as of February 2021, which presents catastrophic results to eco-activism and climate change commitments, allowing companies take legal action against Ireland’s Government should they lose profits as a result of public policy.
Congress commends The work being undertaken by USI working with climate action groups and the internal work being done to make USI a more climate conscious organisation including being named as an SDG champion, working towards being a paperless office and being named a Fairtrade office.
Congress mandates The USI Executive team work to make USI events and campaigns more sustainable and aim to ensure USIs work is as close to carbon neutral as possible. USI to undertake a sustainability audit including USIs internal procedures and USIs work more broadly.
Congress Further Mandates: The USI Executive Team to hold a review of all events and campaigns ran (after the event is done), that will include a section on sustainability and examine where their campaign could have been more sustainable to be included as institutional memory for future campaigns to learn and grow from.
Proposed By TUDublin SU
Congress Notes: The Sustainable Development goals have been recognized as the solution to providing a sustainable future for all living things on the planet.
Congress Further Notes: That USI plays a key role in educating students about these goals.
Congress Applauds: The work done to date by the USI Executive on linking in with the Sustainable Development Goals and highlighting campaigns such as Fast Fashion, Plastic Free & Fair Trade
Congress Regrets: That Ireland is currently not on track to meet Carbon Net-Zero goals by 2050, and that lack of education plays into a huge factor in the immediate dangers imposed by climate neglect.
Congress Therefore Mandates: The Vice-President for Equality & Citizenship in association with the USI Executive Team to take lead in running a Sustainability Festival that will target the Sustainable Development Goals as the primary point of focus for educating on the event.
Congress Further Mandates: That the event ran, explores options to set a standard in sustainability and running events sustainably, targeting 0-waste as a benchmark.
Proposed By Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union Aontas na Mac Léinn Ollscoil na Banríona
Congress recognises: The UK’s hostile environment policy, formed through a number of discriminatory immigration laws, means many international students must register with local police upon arrival, apply for a biometric residence permit, pay a costly NHS surcharge and may find themselves subject to landlord immigration checks if they do not live in university accommodation.
Congress also recognises: The exorbitant fees that international students pay to attend university in the UK and Ireland, often 4 times higher than what home students pay.
Congress also recognises: Universities also play a role in monitoring international students under the hostile environment policy and the Prevent Duty.
Congress believes: Education and healthcare should be free for all students.
Congress also believes: In the free movement of all students and staff, including those outside of the EU.
Therefore, Congress mandates:
- That USI work with NUS and NUS-USI to end the hostile environment and PREVENT, starting with the way these policies operate within higher and further education.
- That USI work with NUS and NUS-USI to ensure free healthcare for all, and an end to NHS surcharge fees
- That USI work with NUS and NUS-USI to ensure international students can access public funds to avail of financial support during their studies.
- The USI work with NUS and NUS-USI to ensure students who challenge their universities can do so without this impacting their visa status.
- The VP Equality and Citizenship work with MOs to support them in campaigning for their institutions to become Universities of Sanctuary and to create more bursaries and scholarships of for students who are migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
- The USI work with NUS and NUS-USI to end universities working with and investing in the very industries that cause migrant precarity and cause people to leave their home countries such as arms trade, fossil fuel industry, and prison and border industries.
Proposed By USI Vice President Dublin region
Congress recognises The important role young people and particularly students have played in the fight against global warming. Climate change is here. As the impact of climate change intensifies over the coming few years, it is the children and young people of today who will face the worst effects. Young people across the globe have taken to the streets, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis by Governments across the globe which sparked a global movement of school-age students demanding greater action from governments to fight climate change. Now millions are marching to demonstrate their support.
Congress notes Governments across the globe are not taking action to fulfil the Paris agreement. Across the island of Ireland, the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly continue to ignore their obligations and role in combating climate change. The Climate Action (Amendment) Bill 2020 aims to pursue climate neutrality by 2050 pursue but do not have to achieve it and the carbon budgets do not have to be consistent with the 2050 objective. In February, the Northern Ireland Assembly declared a climate emergency. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that does not have its own climate legislation, although it does contribute to wider UK targets on emissions reductions and has a Northern Ireland Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019–2024.
Congress mandates The Vice President for Equality and Citizenship and Vice President for Campaigns to develop a network of students from across USIs membership with an interest in climate action. This network would comprise of students and student leaders from across the island to come together to fight climate change. The USI Executive Team would support the development and training of this network and organise gatherings of this network.
Proposed by the Equality and Citizenship Working Group.
The total fee to become an Irish citizen for an adult is ‚¬1145, consisting of an application fee of ‚¬175 and a fee to gain citizenship of ‚¬950. Furthermore the criteria to apply for citizenship includes having a period of 365 days* (1 year) continuous reckonable residence in the State immediately before the date of application for naturalisation.
Congress notes with concern
This high cost acts as a barrier to many young people and students who wish to apply for citizenship, excluding them from being able to vote in certain Irish elections. Also, the restrictive criteria of having to stay in the country for 365 consecutive days limits opportunities for people who are hoping to apply to become Irish citizens.
The Vice President for Equality and Citizenship to lobby for a reduction in the cost of citizenship and to lobby for the continuous 365 residency in the state to be changed. ”
Proposed by Vice President for Equality and Citizenship
In 2004, 79% of the public voted in favour of a constitutional amendment which would remove the automatic right to citizenship for children born in Ireland. The following was inserted into Bunreacht na hÉireann,
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, a person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, who does not have, at the time of the birth of that person, at least one parent who is an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen is not entitled to Irish citizenship or nationality, unless provided for by law.
Council further notes:
That this constitutional amendment leaves many who were born here and who have been resident in Ireland throughout their lives, facing an uncertain legal future and in some cases, the threat of deportation.
Council notes with concern:
Nationality and citizenship has a huge impact on accessing education, considering the financial barriers facing those when classified as international students, although they were born in Ireland and have lived in the state since.
Council therefore mandates:
The Vice President for Equality and Citizenship to lobby for provisions to be made by the Oireachtas for jus soli citizenship and to support bills brought through the Oireachtas which would improve access to education for those living in Ireland.
Proposed By NUI Galway SU
Congress notes with concern:
Ireland is failing to meet its 2020 carbon emission targets to combat climate change, and leaves itself open to large fines as a result.
Sustainability has been proven to be a massive student issue, this year the Student Movement was a leading force in Climate case Ireland, and SUs across the country are continuing work inside and outside their institutions on sustainability .
Deposit and return schemes in many European countries. These schemes encourage people to recycle plastic in exchange for money.
The Repack Machine in UCC allows recycling of plastic, while also raising money for UCCSU designated charities, and the positive impact this has had on their campus.
The Vice President for Equality and Citizenship and USI President to lobby the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment to introduce a national deposit and return scheme, and to lobby for economic supports for the introduction of such schemes.
Proposed by Vice President for Equality and Citizenship
The upcoming referendum on the extending Presidential voting rights to Irish citizens living outside of the Republic of Ireland.
That Irish citizens, regardless of their location, should have the right to vote for their
nation’s head of state.
USI Officer Board to campaign in favour of extending Presidential voting rights to those living outside of the Republic of Ireland.
Proposed by the Vice President for Equality & Citizenship
The work of Students’ Unions around Ireland as ‘Students for Choice’, and the lobbying effort thus far for an early referendum date in 2018, and to prepare students for the upcoming referendum in the Republic of Ireland.
USI’s membership of the coalition to repeal the 8th amendment and the national women’s council of Ireland, and the USI mandate to support the goals of the Abortion Rights Campaign, and the strategy for referendum laid out in the USI Students for Choice strategy.
Congress further notes
The need for USI to ensure that the voices of minority communities affected by the 8th amendment, including students, transgender and non-binary people, as well as migrants in Ireland, are to the fore of the public debate ahead of the referendum.
The civil society campaign led by the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment, the National
Women’s Council of Ireland, and the Abortion Rights campaign.
USI to support the National Campaign, and the Vice President for Equality & Citizenship and Vice President for Campaigns to further the successful development of ‘USI Students for Choice’ as the leading national voice for students during the campaign to repeal the 8th amendment.
Proposed by DITSU
That Ireland has become far more diverse and multicultural in the last 20 years.
Congress Further Notes:
That this promotes recognition, understanding and acceptance of people who come from different cultural backgrounds.
Congress Further Notes:
The importance of celebrating the many different cultures which have had a positive impact on Irish Society.
Congress Therefore Mandates:
That the VP for Equality and Citizenship and the VP for Campaigns, working with all the Equality Officers and/or Welfare Officers and the many different multicultural groups, institutions and organisations in Ireland to run an annual Students’ Unions Multicultural Festival which celebrates these many different cultures, and promotes the excellent opportunities available within all Students’ Unions.
REAPPROVED 2018 – REAPPROVED 2021
That General Election will happen in the next 18 months with the likelihood of a new Government.
Congress also notes
This is an opportunity for USI to lobby and assure students’ interests are provided for in
the next program for Government
Congress therefore mandates
The VP for Campaigns, in conjunction with the USI President, to write ‘the Student Manifesto’ to highlight USI’s key demands from political parties.
Congress also mandates
The VP for Campaigns, in conjunction with the USI President, to write ‘the Student Guide to the General Election’ which will inform the general student body on the election relevant to student issues and interests.
REAPPROVED 2018 – UP FOR RENEWAL 2021
That in order to help fund their education, many students take up a part time job.
The decision to reverse the cut to the minimum wage, which targeted students in part time jobs who are already struggling financially.
Congress notes with concern:
That in many of these jobs, trade union membership is absent and in some places discouraged. Furthermore, many students are unaware of what their rights and entitlements are in relation to time off, payment and hours.
The Vice President of Equality and Citizenship to better inform students of their rights in the workplace by providing information that is set out by the LRC, NERA and Employment legislation. This mandate should be completed within the first quarter of the Academic Year.