New Union of Students in Ireland president elected unopposed after troubled year

New Union of Students in Ireland president elected unopposed after troubled year
Mar 31st, 2008

Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have elected Shane Kelly as the incoming president of the group at their annual congress last week. The candidacy was unopposed, making it the fourth such USI election in the last five years.

Kelly, who has been the president of the Waterford Institute of Technology Student Union since 2006, replaces the current interim president, Hamidreza Khodabakhshi, after from July 1.

The outgoing president said his successor has “demonstrated first-class leadership as president of WIT Students Union.”

Khodabakhshi, the first Muslim head of the national union, was elected when former president Richie Morrisroe resigned after a no confidence motion was passed against him at a USI national council in Galway last October.

Morrisroe’s departure was preceded by the leaking of a letter attacking him, which was also sent to all student union presidents at USI-affiliated college. Its author, the then USI equality officer, Steven Conlon also resigned on the day. Conlon confirmed he was its writer, but denied leaking it.

According TCD newspaper Trinity News, Shane Kelly – while representing Waterford Institute of Technology – called for the motion of no confidence on Morrisroe.

USI to campaign TDs and senators

Khodabakhshi will be spending the remainder of his term actively, he is head up an USI campaign looking for support of TDs and senators on the
issues of increasing assistance for part-time students and to push the Government to deliver their pledge of a student accommodation taskforce.

Commenting on Kelly’s selection, Hamidreza Khodabakhshi said: “Shane Kelly has demonstrated first-class leadership as president of WIT Students Union… When he takes over from me in July, I know that Mr Kelly will further advance the critical campaigns that we – the students of Ireland – are bringing to our lobby of the Oireachtas.”

Kelly, a Donegal native, said, “My focus from July will be on ensuring wider and improved access to education. USI will continue to fight for
all students in third level, as well as prospective returnees to education who, after leaving school, may have embarked on family life or entered full-time employment”.

He added: “I want to see educational inequality replaced by proper funding for all people to pursue further studies. The more people in
our society that can pursue opportunities in education, the greater the social-economic benefits to everyone.”

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