In the wake of the petition that was passed calling for UCD SU President Katie Ascough to be impeached for her decision to remove information regarding abortions from a Freshers handbook, her colleague, Welfare Officer Eoghan Mac Domhnaill, has pledged to support her through it.
Last week, a petition was begun by students calling for Ms. Ascough to be impeached for the removal of information regarding safe access to abortion pills online and the prices of various clinics in England. 3.5% of the total student body needed to sign the petition for an impeachment referendum to be considered and it quickly reached this number.
The decision taken by Ms. Ascough to remove the information has greatly angered a large proportion of the student body due to the fact that not only was almost identical information available in previous iterations of the handbook, but also that the decision to remove the information resulted in the need for the handbooks to be reprinted at a cost of €8,000. They also claim that it directly contravenes promises made during her election campaign that despite Ms. Ascough herself being pro-life, she stated that she would put her personal beliefs aside and act on the mandate of the Students Union which is pro-choice.
Her decision to remove the information, on the advice of lawyers from the university, has been seen as something of a betrayal, given that the other four sabbatical officers are all avowedly pro-choice. In spite of this Welfare Officer Eoghan Mac Dohmnaill has, in a Facebook post put up in advance of the impeachment petition being released, pledged to stand by Ms. Ascough during any impeachment referendum.
Anger at Katie and the union over what happened is completely understandable, fuck it I'm surprised it's taken as long for this to come about.
As angry as I was, and still am, that that information was taken out I'm not going to sit idle while people circle around my friend and my president. Even though I fully support the media attention that has surrounded the last week some of the comments about Katie and some of the actions that are following on from this I cannot and will not stand by.
Katie, in my eyes has, bar this incident been an absolutely phenomenal president. I know this is such an unpopular opinion that I'll probably have a mountain of hate thrown at me from every side but for my own conscience sake I want it to be known.
I'll not be signing any impeachment documentation tomorrow and should a referendum be called ill be standing by Katie all the way.
It is undoubtedly a very complex situation and while it's evident that she has to a degree reneged on her pledge to advocate the policies of the SU above her own beliefs, it seems that, with a national referendum on the issue in sight, the levels of acrimony around such a contentious issue only fan the flames of both sides and creates further divides people in what is already an incredibly divisive issue.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.