Tuesday 15 October 2019

From Craanford to USI President

Cathy Lee

Lorna Fitzpatrick (25) has been elected as the President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) for the coming academic year of 2019/2020. Lorna said that her passion for student representation began while a secondary school student at Coláiste Bhríde in Carnew, where she took part in the student council.

Having grown up in the village of Craanford, daughter to John Fitzpatrick of Craanford and Caroline Kelly of Ballycanew, Lorna attended Craanford National School, and has always seen herself as a strong voice to stand up for the smaller local groups and communities on the ground. She has been doing this for the past seven years through the students' union movement.

Lorna studied hard for her Leaving Certificate and got her first choice in college to study Business and Human Resource Management at IT Carlow. She said that she chose this campus for its small size and that she understood the 'sense of community there'. Lorna got involved in student politics from the start, and was elected as class representative in her first year. In her final year she was appointed as Equality Officer, and then went on to serve two terms as the Student Union President at Institute of Technology Carlow, after a year as Deputy President for Welfare and Education in the students union.

After seven years away from home, she has returned to Gorey and is currently Vice President of the USI for the Southern Region, where she was engages with eight students' unions across different campuses, including IT Carlow, Wexford Campus. Over the last couple of years she has been very involved with campaigns around the two recent referenda, on marriage equality and repeal of the eighth amendment. Lorna believes that the student movement plays a vital role in our society, and is a key part of lobbying politicians both locally and nationally. After winning her most recent election with just 121 votes, Lorna had tough competition from USI deputy President, Oisín Hassan, but she will now begin her new role on July 1. She is 'Over the moon' to be going forward as President to represent 374,000 students across the island of Ireland.

Lorna said she was thrilled and ecstatic about becoming USI president and she will represent students as best as possible. She said that she was 'Absolutely delighted that the students have put their trust in me to lead this movement. We are facing issues such as accommodation, access to higher education, higher education funding, ending direct provision, climate change, social justice issues in Northern Ireland alongside Irish language rights. I am looking forward to leading our movement through that'.

Gorey Guardian