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Joe O'Connor Andrew Downes

Roscommon native elected as new USI President

The USI said Joe O’Connor has firsthand experience with the college grant system which will help him represent struggling students.

THE UNION OF Students in Ireland (USI) has today elected Roscommon native Joe O’Connor as its new president for 2013/2014 at its annual congress.

O’Connor has served as the president of the GMIT Student’s Union for two years before this and was also previously the Vice President for Welfare.

The USI said today that O’Connor, who has an honours degree in Accounting and a Masters in Strategy and Innovation Management has personal experience of coping with the increasing cost of third level education, having relied upon the maintenance grant throughout his time in college.

Speaking today, O’Connor said the the need for “effective national representation is more acute than ever” as families struggle with increasing fees and “dwindling student supports”.

“At this time, 10,000 vulnerable students are still waiting on their first maintenance grant payment from SUSI and countless secondary school students wonder if they can afford to attain what should be their right; an education that best equips them to play their part in our country’s recovery,” he said.

“I have spent the last three years dealing with students facing these enormous difficulties first-hand. These experiences will not only inform my term as USI President but also provide the necessary motivation in our fight to protect access to higher education.”

UCD’s Paddy Guiney was elected to the position of Vice President for Campaigns. Guiney has stated that re-affiliating UCD is one of his top priorities.

Results for other positions on USI Officer Board 2013/2014:

  • VP for Academic Affairs and Quality Assurance: Cat O’Driscoll
  • VP for Welfare: Denise McCarthy
  • VP for Equality and Citizenship: Laura Harmon
  • VP for the Border, Midlands and Western Region: Kevin Donoghue
  • VP for the Southern Region: Ciara Guinan
  • VP for the Irish Language: Féidhlim Seoighe

Read: DCU votes to affiliate with USI after decade apart>
Read: Struggling students given food boxes as 5,500 still wait for grant>

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