Sunday 22 September 2019

'I think I need a holiday' - former UCD SU president Katie Ascough discusses her future after impeachment vote

Katie Ascough
Katie Ascough

Sasha Brady

Katie Ascough has not ruled out running for UCD Student's Union again after students voted overwhelmingly in favour to impeach her.

In total, 6,611 voted, with 4,540 in favour of impeachment and 2,032 against.

That represents a 69pc vote in favour of removing Ms Ascough, a pro-life supporter.

The result followed two days of voting across campus in what is the biggest voting turnout in UCD history.

The referendum required a simple majority to pass and the quorum for the vote to count was 10pc of students (2,455 votes).

Ms Ascough is the first-ever president of UCDSU to be impeached.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk this morning, Ms Ascough said that she was required to step down from office with immediate effect.

"I no longer have a job," she said, as she confirmed that a by-election will take place to fill the open sabbatical officer’s position.

When asked if she has planned to consider running for SU president in the next election, Ms Ascough said it's "not beyond the bounds of possibility" but it's "unlikely".

"I think I need a holiday," the medicinal chemistry student said before explaining that she is still working towards her goal of becoming a scientific journalist.

Voting was triggered by a petition signed by 1,200 students who requested to impeach Ms Ascough over her "executive decision" to ban information on abortions from a student publication, despite the information being previously available in UCD.

The move was seen as undermining the student union's pro-choice mandate. Ms Ascough said legal advice stated the information was illegal.

Re-printing cost the union €8,000.

Ms Ascough said that despite not sharing the same views as the majority of the student body, her decision to run for president of a union that held a pro-choice mandate was "very reflective of who I am".

"I did competitive gymnastics for 13 years, I learned how to be a very driven person and to go for big things and not give up," she told The Pat Kenny Show.

"I knew my opinions were not the norm in UCD but everybody should be entitled to run for a position in their own university."

Roisin Power, assistant editor of the University Times told Newstalk Breakfast she does not believe the result was about Ms Ascough's pro-life views.

"It was to do with broken election election promises.

"There was a lot revealed about the amount of lies that, potentially, Katie had told throughout her campaign. I think that just didn't stick well with students.

"For example, one of them was that she said that she presented the legal advice to the union's board of directors - and they came out and said that Katie did not show them the legal advice".

Speaking after the result, Ms Ascough said: "I have fought the good fight. I have been open and honest. I have respected the law. I feel confident that I've done all that I could do for the students that I have been elected to represent. This is a sad day for me."

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