Coiste Gnó 2021-2022
The Union of Students in Ireland is led by the 11-member Coiste Gnó. The Coiste Gnó represents and works on behalf of 374,000 students across the island of Ireland.
Mobile: 086 102 5495
Clare Austick (she/her) is President of the Union of Students in Ireland for the academic year 2021-2022. She is the former USI Vice President for Welfare. Clare is from Galway and studied Science, specialising in Chemistry, at NUI Galway.
She became involved in student activism as a Class Rep where she enjoyed representing the views of her class and resolving course issues. She then went on to be the part-time Equality Officer, Vice President for Welfare and Equality and President of NUI Galway Students’ Union.
Clare is passionate about breaking down the barriers to accessing third level education, student wellbeing, social justice and equality, promoting consent, body image and women’s rights. Clare is a proud vegetarian and loves a good coffee in the morning.
She is driven by a desire to help and support others and is fully dedicated to leading the national student movement, ensuring the student voice is heard, listened to and well-represented. She is committed to ensuring you get the best college experience possible and wishes you the very best of luck for the year ahead!
Vice President for Campaigns
Mobile: 086 028 4961
Beth O’Reilly (they/them, she/her) (siad/iad, sí/í) is the USI Vice President for Campaign. They previously held the role of Commercial and Fundraising Officer in UCC Students’ Union, the first person to fill this role. Beth graduated from UCC with a degree in Politics and History.
She also was hugely involved in student societies during her time in UCC, chairing the International Relations Society and sitting as the Students’ Union representative on the Societies Executive. Beth is originally from Cork, and will never hesitate to talk about how it’s the best place in the world and the “real capital”.
They are passionate about housing, workers’ rights, environmentalism and queer liberation. Beth is incredibly excited to use her experiences to help SU Officers and students across the island to create engaging campaigns that mobilise students and enact real change on the problems that face young people today.
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Number: 086 816 5498
Megan O’Connor (she/her) is the USI Vice President for Academic Affairs. She was the Education Officer/Deputy President of Trinity College Dublin Students Union 2020-21 and is a General Nursing graduate.
Megan previously held the positions of Off-Campus Part Time Officer, Academic Senator and Class Representative. She’s originally from Kerry with a grá for student empowerment, improving placement practices and the overall accessibility of higher education.
Vice President for Welfare
Number: 086 065 1226
Somhairle Brennan (he/them) is the USI Vice President for Welfare for 2021/22. Originally from Donegal, they are an Applied Psychology Graduate from IADT Dun Laoghaire, a former class rep and returning officer, and the former President of IADTSU (2020/21).
Somhairle is incredibly excited to work with Students’ Unions and officers from all around the country and is here to be a support to anyone who needs it – never be afraid to reach out!
Vice President for Equality and Citizenship
Number: 086 414 9758
Bukky Adebowale (sí/í) [pronounced Boo-key Ha-Day-Boh-Wah-Lay] is the USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship. Bukky obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Maynooth University.
She formerly held positions of Science and Engineering Faculty Assembly member, Bioscience Academic Representative and a sabbatical position as the first Vice President Student Life at Maynooth Students’ Union. Bukky was the first black woman to be elected to the executive teams of both Maynooth Students’ Union and the Union of Students in Ireland.
She has a passion for various interests from student rights to addressing the barriers students of colour face to student engagement and active citizenship.
Vice President for the BMW Region
Number: 086 065 1225
Victor O’Loughlin (he/him) is the USI Vice President for the Border, Midlands and Western Region. He is from Ennis, county Clare. He became involved in student activism back in 2016 when he became a Class Rep while undertaking his undergraduate degree in applied Biology and Biopharmaceuticals. From there he became involved in his local SU, taking part in protests and lobbying TDs. He does what he can where he can to represent the voice of students.
Victor is the former president of GMIT students’ union (2020/2021)and former two-time Deputy President for education with GMIT students’ union (2018-2020). Victor is passionate about breaking the barriers to third level education all across the island of Ireland and about promoting activism within Irish young people. He believes nobody should be denied access to education based on the weight of their wallet, where they live, or what their community status is. His focus for the year is creating a student engagement network across the BMW region to promote activism within the national student movement.
Vice President for the Southern Region
Mobile: 086 028 4970
John Fortune (he/him) is the USI Vice President for the Southern Region. He is a former two term President, one term Vice President for Education, part-time Business Convenor and Class Representative in WIT Students’ Union.
He is a former Business and Chinese student, specialising in Marketing. John was born and bred in Wexford but has fallen in love with Port Láirge (Waterford).
He is so excited to work with all the officers in the Southern Region and to ensure their students feel represented, engaged with and supported by USI. He has an interest in all things equality and academic rights for students. He is also the European Students’ Union (ESU) support alongside the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Don’t hesitate to contact John at anytime, there is no such thing as a stupid question or query!
Vice President for Dublin
Mobile: 086 065 1229
Hailing from Dun Laoghaire, Caoimhe O’Carroll (she/her) is the USI Vice President for the Dublin Region and a recent graduate of BCL (Law and Society) in Dublin City University.
During her time in DCU, Caoimhe was an active Class Representative and served as Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Representative in 2019/20. She is keen to bring her lived experience of ‘Zoomiversity’ to the Coiste Gnó and to mobilize student activists over the coming year.
Grian Ní Dhaimhin
Leas-Uachtarán don Gaeilge
Vice President for Gaeilge
Mobile: 086 065 1227
Is í Grian Ní Dhaimhín (sí/í, she/her) Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge d’Aontas na mac Léinn in Éirinn do 2021/22. Is gníomhaí í Ghrian ar son cearta teanga, agus cóir eacnamaíochta agus shóisialta. Is céimí í fosta sa Stair agus Antraipeolaíocht Shóisialta ag Ollscoil na Banríona i mBéal Feirste, le Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge ó Ollscoil Uladh chomh maith.
Chríochnaigh Ghrian a chéim sa chéad dianghlasáil, ansin s’oibrigh sí mar Uachtarán ar Aontas na Mac Léinn ag Ollscoil na Ríona i 2020/21. Chomh maith le sin, is gníomhaí í Ghrian le BLM Uladh, An Dream Dearg, tionscadail síochana agus athmhuintearas agus grúpaí frithchiníochas.
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Grian Ní Dhaimhín (sí/í, she/her) is the Leas Uachtarán don Ghaeilge (or Vice President for the Irish language) at the Union of Students in Ireland for 2021/22. Grian is an activist for language rights, students’ needs and economic and social justice. Grian is a History and Social Anthropology graduate from Queen’s University Belfast and has also completed a Diploma in Irish at Ulster University.
Grian finished her degree under the first Covid lockdown, and then worked as President of Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union for the 2020/21 academic year. Grian is also an activist for BLM Ulster, An Dream Dearg, peace and reconciliation and a number of anti-racism organisations.
Vice President for Postgraduate Affairs
Mobile: 086 065 1228
Jenna Barry (she/her) is the USI Vice President for Postgraduate Affairs. She is currently undertaking postgraduate research at Limerick Institute of Technology, soon to be the new Technological University, TÚS. She has previously worked in LIT on a science and engineering industry project supervising students for their final year projects and dissertation and tutoring in various roles. Her background is varied with an MA, HDip, PgD, so she understands the diversity in different postgraduate journeys.
Her passion is to innovatively support postgraduate students enabling them to connect through a Virtual Community of Practice (VCoP). She wants to enable the postgraduate community to come together, supporting postgraduates to work as a unit to encourage and strengthen postgraduate student engagement, thereby decreasing isolation and increasing connection, communication, and collaboration to bring about change.
She enjoys travelling, learning, good food, adrenalin activities and supporting others. She also loves a good brainstorming session. If you have any questions or just want to connect, please feel free to email her. She is looking forwarding to working with all students with an interest in postgraduate affairs and welcomes YOU to engage today!
Ellen Fearon (she/her) is the NUS-USI President for 2020-22, representing over 200,000 students, learners and apprentices in NI, with additional responsibilities of sitting on both the NUS and USI’s executive teams.
Ellen served for one year at QUBSU as Student Activities Officer during 2019/20. During her time in the student movement, Ellen has fought for Climate Justice by forming a Climate Action Group, introducing the first local ‘Green New Deal’ on the island and fighting for fossil fuel divestment. Ellen ran various student engagement campaigns, aiming to educate students about the power of Student Unions, and fighting for student workers’ rights. During her tenure, Ellen’s work as NUS-USI President will focus on getting students through every step of the financial and educational recovery of COVID-19. Ellen’s focus is on building a grassroots, mass movement of students across NI in order to tackle the mental health crisis we face, fight for our FE students and to continue the campaign to achieve the free, lifelong and accessible education that our students deserve.