USI Congress 2018 has officially kicked off in Ballinasloe today and with that, your trusty reporter will give you a brief update on the happenings of the first day.
We kicked off with Students For Choice, which involved pushing the importance of supporting the Repeal the 8th Campaign. Students sharing their experiences which were very moving. Orla O’Connor from the Women’s Council of Ireland, was a guest and highlighted the reason for supporting the movement; ie. supporting this allows us to provide a safe environment to terminate crisis pregnancies. She urged that we much keep campaigning for a more compassionate Ireland.
Max Brady, ex-USI President, also gave a speech where she took us through a whistlestop tour of the background of this movement for choice.
Finally, USI President Michael Kerrigan took a stand, reminding us to get involved as much as possible. We need to think about the future we want for our children. At the moment, to quote Kerrigan, “we have 52 days to educate and motivate” before the Referendum!
In the afternoon, Congress officially began, with a few basic rules and a quick run through of how Congress works. Congress then went through a training motion, which consisted of a mock motion. The aim of this was to run the delegates through how procedural motions worked.
Policies that were due to expire were up first. These are all motions which were passed 3 years ago and are now up for debate on whether or not they should remain or fall. If a motion has no proposer, it automatically falls. Overall out of 53 motions up reapproval, the vast majority of motions were carried and only 7 motions fell due to having no proposers. There was a lot passion around the motion concerning private schools. It was the first debate on the Congress floor that took an extended amount of time, with a number of delegates both for and against the motion. Despite the amount of delegates against it, the motion ended up being carried. Your DITSU delegates were very vocal in speaking for/against motions, and overall taking part in the discussion. Towards the end of the afternoon, due to nearing the end of alloted time, 12 motions due to expire have been left to be discussed tomorrow morning.
Finally, in the evening was USI Hustings. While DITSU Student Council had already mandated who we have to support at our own USI Hustings a couple of weeks ago, it was still great to hear those candiadtes speak again, as well as hearing speakers from other colleges speak.
With that, the first day of Congress closed and we will be back in the morning, ready to start again for the second day.
For updates on the motions as they happen, follow the DITSU Twitter or follow the hashtag #USI18 for live updates!