‘What A Repeal Referendum Might Look Like’


Last night.

Kathleen McNamee and Dominic McGrath, in The University Times, reported on the impeachment of UCD Students’ Union president Katie Ascough.

Ms Ascough is the daughter of Tom Ascough, who sits on the Iona Institute’s board of directors.

Ms McNamee and Mr McGrath reported:

An overwhelming majority of voters, 69 per cent, chose to impeach University College Dublin Students’ Dublin (UCDSU) President Katie Ascough from her role.

The result follows two days of voting which saw thousands of students participate. Today’s vote saw one of the highest voter turnouts the union has seen in recent years.

Ascough came out defiant in her speech following the vote. “I fought the good fight. I have been open and honest. I have respected the law”, she said. While she offered something of an olive branch to her former UCDSU colleagues, she didn’t apologise for her actions.

Universities, she said, cannot function without “respect for those with different beliefs”. Such rhetoric was a mainstay of the campaign, with Ascough pitching the vote as a battle for democracy and freedom of speech.

In her speech, after a long night of disappointment for her supporters, Ascough seemed to suggest her defeat tonight might be something of a catalyst for change in Irish universities. “I hope we can build an atmosphere of inclusion to those who might not fit the stereotypical image of an SU president”, she said.

…Through the twists and turns of a campaign that seemed surreal at times, many have suggested tonight’s vote was something of an early indication of what a repeal referendum might look like in 2018.

…With over 1,200 signatures, the petition to trigger the referendum was submitted three weeks ago. It was started after Ascough removed abortion access information from the UCDSU freshers’ guide, Winging It. The move was seen by the pro-impeachment campaign as undermining the union’s pro-choice mandate. The campaign also objected to the €8,000 cost of reprinting.

After UCD Votes to Impeach, Ascough Comes Out Defiant (University Times)

Pic: Irish Election Literature

39 thoughts on “‘What A Repeal Referendum Might Look Like’

  1. shitferbrains

    ” … the daughter of…” is relevant how ? As many ” daughters of ” rebel against parental mores as concur with them.

    1. Christopher

      How dare you insinuate her father bullied her into having pro-life views and suggesting to her that being impeached as SU president for doing something she should not might help rally sheep to their cause! Outrageous.

  2. Mourning Ireland

    Step forward the kitchen cabinet of Ivana Baçik and the Irish Times confederate Labour Luvvies.

  3. ReproBertie

    Wasn’t it Cora Sherlock who encouraged her to run for SU office in an attempt to change the pro-choice leaning of the union from the inside?

    No doubt Cora will be only delighted that they now have a young political martyr.

  4. jimmey_russell

    she is clearly brainwashed by the patriarchy, hopefully someone puts her out of her misery sooner rather than later

  5. Nice Anne1

    Miss Ascough was elected on the promise of not letting her anti-choice leanings get in the way of a pro-choice union. During her campaign she publicly and repeatedly said she would delegate abortion related issues. Then she sought the opinion from lawyers to find a way to get the student handbook changed. Before the change, she did not share the legal opinion, she was given, with the union committee.

    She spent $8000 removing information from a publication that gets kicked around the pavement outside UCD and scooped up by the council binmen of a Tuesday morning. Information that was freely available online anyway.

    On the other hand, even one of the grand-daughters of the founders of the Westborough baptist church managed to free herself from her family and their toxic beliefs so there is hope for this lady too. The story of Megan is covered in an amazing piece here: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/23/conversion-via-twitter-westboro-baptist-church-megan-phelps-roper

    1. BobBobBob

      The article makes the argument that the original wording might have gone beyond what is legal under Irish law “While it is lawful to provide information in Ireland about abortions abroad, it is subject to strict conditions.” and that they had legal advice expressing serious concerns.
      It isn’t a very convincing argument but it should be mentioned.

      “The decision to remove the information, which required reprinting” did it really require reprinting though?
      Is it just me that thinks it is strange to spend that much printing something onto dead tree even once, let alone twice, when they could put it on the student union website?
      It is difficult to know if that kind of spending 8 grand on printing is extravagant spending in terms of the overall budget of the organisation, but it sounds pretty damning to me.

      Another article mentions how many people voted: 69% impeach 4,540/6,572 students.
      No mention of how many people voted her in as president for comparison.
      It is also different being one in a field of candidates versus being one person with the three of the union officers campaigning for a vote against you. I’m surprised the numbers weren’t higher.

  6. painkiller

    “atmosphere of inclusion”…more like atmosphere of collusion, if not exclusion. If you aren’t with the mob, you are with the witches. Apparently we live in increasingly tolerant times. It’s very convenient when you are the dominant group, but when the pendulum swings, you lose the right to complain about the standard of discourse you’ve set.

    I just hope that university politics is upstream of culture and that this can be nipped in the bud. This attitude that to debate something legitimises the counter-point is totalitarian and machiavellian – worse, it shelters smug, lazy cowards who rely on emotion above fact in a debate. Clicktivists.

    Which is better, seeing this attitude succeed or kicking the can on the abortion issue for another few years? The last thing we need is to see the mob tactics win…

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