Sunday, February 28, 2010

This week in the Observer

Hey folks,

This week in the Student Observer we hope to have an exciting number of posts and articles coming your way.

We will be having the final of our USI articles on what USI will mean for Maynooth students now that we are members.

Election Fallout. The winners, the losers and will the new Union live up to the hype that has been made during the campaign.

Election Reform. Can changes be made to the election process and will the incomming Union Exec look at possible reforms.

We are also working on aquiring some big interviews which will be posted during the week along with looking at improving, updating and expanding our operation.

Stay tuned folks. Your input as always is encouraged so feel free to contact us on our email at



Saturday, February 27, 2010

Inside Sport: Sigerson Cup Final 2010

While disappointing as it was that NUIM were defeated in yesterdays semi-final we can at least say that we were beaten by the Sigerson Cup Champions. DCU lined out today against The Red and Black Buccaneers of UCC at Liexlip GAA Park earlier today.

DCU started brightly with four points unanswered by a slow to start UCC. It wasn't until the 15th minute that UCC finally got on the board. The DCU midfield and offense linked well together while their defense was like a sponge, absorbing everything UCC threw at them.

On the 20 minute mark, UCC finally got on the board again after a Barry O'Driscoll free. DCU, who had opened so brightly in the early minutes of the game seemed to lose the tightness in their opening minutes and seemed to panic with the midfield losing it for some time, giving in scrappy balls to the forward line. However UCC were also scrappy in their tackling and a free for the Northsiders in the 25th minute put DCU to 5 points while another free two minutes later saw their lead stretch once again to four points. Before half time, UCC got one back bringing the scores after 30 minutes to DCU 0-6 UCC 0-3.

The second half opened brightly for DCU with a quick score. However the Cork men wasted no time in responding with a fine free from O'Driscoll who was in good kicking form for UCC all day. on 37 minutes, Roscommon man Cathal Cregg put DCU to 8 and a pass from David Kelly to Paddy Andrews was well saved by the Cork keeper shortly after.

The only goal of the game came shortly after when man of the match Brian Sheridan blasted the ball into the net while the UCC defense crumbled around him. UCC rallied however and replied with three fine scores without reply to bring the game to 1-08 to 0-08 at the 45 minute mark.
DCUs Paul Flynn answered the Corks scores but Mark Collins brought the game once again to three scores as we entered the final 10 minutes of normal time.

At this point DCUs dominance was beginning to wane and tired legs were appearing in the Dubliners side with some shoddy tackling bringing about a number of yellow cards. Cork too were scrappy and pulled down Sheridan in the box for a penalty kick which he converted for the point. This was followed by an excellent score by David Kelly after a long period of DCU holding onto the ball and passing across the pitch. Kelly, who had had an excellent game against Maynooth yesterday seemed eager to get on the score sheet and this fine kick was a great example of what he can do.

A last minute goal attempt by UCC caused some scare however an excellent save by the DCU keper deflected it for a point just before the final whistle and DCU returning the Sigerson to the Northside for the first time since 2006 and only the second time in their history.

Final Score: DCU 1-11 UCC 0-10

Man of the Match: Brian Sheridan (DCU)


Friday, February 26, 2010

Two become three at Student Observer!

We at The Observer are delighted to announce we have added a third member of staff.

Welcome to Punch, our new cartoonist! Punch has been responsible for the five pictures in the Inside Eye pieces this week. He's a dear friend of ours and we're thrilled to have him on board.

We are also pleased to unveil our template v.3, significantly less crap than the others.
Finally, we believe we have worked out a twitterfeed, which will automatically update those who follow us on Twitter and Facebook whenever we post here.

As always, all contributions,comments and suggestions to


Inside Sport: Sigerson Cup 2010

After a long two weeks of coverage of NUI Maynooths Student Union elections, this Observer was happy to swap the ballot box for something different and without having to leave the grounds of the University, my answer was found. Today Maynooth played host to the Semi-Finals of the Sigerson Cup with our very own NUI Maynooth turning out against DCU. In the other Semi-Final, Athlone I.T turned out against UCC.

After an impressive win against 2008 winners University Ulster Jordanstown (UUJ), the Black and Amber of Maynooth were in good form to turn out against The boys of DCU. However home advantage was not enough and the final score was DCU 1-12, Maynooth 1-6. In the earlier game, UCC overcame Athlone 1-15 to 0-07 which forwarded their hopes of returning the Cup home to the Peoples Repulic after Cork I.Ts win last year.

The final will be tomorrow February 27th at Leixlip G.A.A ground and all sports fans are advised to turnout for what should be a fantastic game. Despite their loss, NUIM have shown that they are now becoming serious contenders in 3rd level Gaelic Games and over the next few years, The Sigerson Cup could well be seen paraded around the pubs of Maynooth. Well done to all the lads.


P.S If anybody is interested in doing regular features for "Inside Sport" on any of the sports for NUIM, please feel free to submit reports and analysis as sports is by no means my thing. Likewise, any other university or college wanting to do for their own are more than welcome and a report of tomorrows finals would be great. The email as always is:
Follow us on FaceBook. Just type in Student Obsever into search. Simple as.

For now,


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Presidential Results

The results are in and favourite Aengus Ó'Maolain has been elected. He won on the first count with a substantial 994 votes out of a possible 1995. Gavin Brady came second with 501 while Tara Clarke pulling in third 186. Michelle O'Leary got 154 while Jason Whelan came in last with 124 first preferences. Congratulations to Aengus and well done to all other candidates for a lively campaign.

Commentary and analysis of all election results an U.S.I will follow in the coming days.

Maynooth Students' Union Sabbatical Team 2010/2011* President: Aengus Ó Maoláin Vice-President Welfare & Education: Liz Murray Vice-President Coms/Dev: Rob Munnelly Finance Officer: Declan Meenagh Ents Officer: Pat Byrne Cultural Affairs and Irish Officer: Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin St. Pat’s Rep: Mícheál Hughes *Pending any... appeals lodged by candidates before 5pm on Tuesday 2nd March 2010


Election update. 8.00pm.

As of now, results for Su elections are as follows:

St.Pats Rep: Micheál Hughes

Cultural Affairs: Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ents: Pat Byrne

VP. Comm: Rob Munnelly

Finance Officer: Declan Meenagh

VP. Welfare: Liz Murray

All so far are confirmed except VP welfare where only provisional votes show the likely outcome.


Breaking news as of 14:00

From our twitter:

Looks like USI has passed by a landslide. The 65% figure is being touted.

Naoise could be set to miss out on Irish officer

And in an astonishing twist, many insiders believe that GAV BRADY will be elected president.

Further news as events warrant.


Election Day On The Ground

Chatter from the masses as Maynooth rocks the vote

Election fever is sweeping Maynooth, and owing to a busy schedule of lectures, The Observer can only bask in it for a short time. The Arts Block and surrounding areas are buzzing as the day that decides the 2010/11 NUIMSU exec dawns.

Three of the five candidates for the big job are out in force, the red hot favourite Aengus Ó Maoláin, dark horse Gavin Brady, and Michelle O’Leary, apparently in a last-ditch attempt to salvage a decent showing with a burst in the final lap. Whether that can actually work remains to be seen.

Present too on North Campus are the “Yes to USI” campaigners, as today’s voting also includes a two-part referendum on whether the college should rejoin USI. The “YES” campaign have been out in force all week to their credit, and rather than telling students which way to vote, encouraged them all to do their research and whether yes or no, just vote. The “NO” campaign kicked off only properly this morning as polling opened. Rather than trying to transparently explain the reasons the USI is bad for Maynooth, they have opted for a sensationalist smear campaign. The Observer hadn’t been aware until today that behind their “national student representation” facade, lurks a group of people who are apparently a bunch of money grabbing abortion lovers. We’re still looking for the leaflet that tells us that they sell drugs to kids, or tie damsels in distress to traintracks, while twiddling their moustaches and cackling.

In all seriousness, the “NO” campaign has been run appallingly. We’re sure that there is a valid argument against USI, but when your response to a well run “yes” campaign is to accuse them of all sorts of things in ALL BOLD AND CAPS LOCK, SO YOU KNOW WE’RE TELLING THE TRUTH, your argument loses its credibility. Furthermore, whereas the “YES” campaigners have been ever-present to answer all questions, The Observer has only seen one “NO” campaigner. And that was only because I arrived at the Common Room to get crisps at 8:35AM, and saw a man in, no joke, all black and a baseball cap obscuring his face, skulking in between tables and putting down the aforementioned fliers. One wonders, on reflection, whether The Observer has missed a joke, and it’s just the “YES” side doing a parody of the “NO” side.

The Observer cast its vote in the early afternoon and decided to hang around the arts block to chat to the voters and see what way things are going. In terms of Presidential voting, a surprisingly large number of people that we talked to are voting Jason Whelan and Gavin Brady as 1st or 2nd preference. We still expect Aengus will win, but it appears that the damage done by Jason’s outings on was not as widespread as once thought, and dark horse Gavin may mount a serious challenge.

People are also talking a lot about the VP Welfare position and at time of print, many students believed it to be a dead heat between Lydia Farrell, Liz Murray, and Mary Quinn. Rumours were also abound in the Arts Block that afternoon that a member of Liz Murray’s campaign team breached the exclusion one and was seen near the polling booth in the morning dressed in one of Liz’ t-shirts, which is against the rules of the election. The returning officers and other present had to repeatedly request that he vacate the premesis or remove the garment in question, and though he resisted at first, did eventually leave. Whether that actually influences the outcome is highly speculative, but should Liz win, it gives opposing camps fair reason to complain.

For finance officer, people were talking up Declan Meenagh quite a bit. The feeling on campus is that he’s the best man for the job and is generally a really nice guy, so expect him to do well. For Ents, it seems to be, as predicted, Pat Byrne who has stolen the hearts of the electorate was his CRAICademic manifesto. The last position we’ve heard any chatter about is the odd word that people are voting Naoise for Cultural Officer.

So that was the word on the ground this afternoon at election central. We hope that, like us at The Observer, you voted today. We intend to be back as results break from the election. If you have anything you’d like us to publish or cover, or have news from yesterday’s events, please don’t hesitate to email us at:
Until then,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tumbleweeds, Spar Ads and Sex and the City. Not to mention a hell of a lot of parties.

Its gotta be the Exec Hustings.

Well if you believed that today's hustings were nothing more then a formality and that all the main action had already passed well think again. While Jason's got the moves and Gav's got the Tits out for the lads (and lassies), the award for most outrageous Hustings speech goes to Pat Byrne who used his time to tell a tale of his previous night out leaving the audience rolling with laughter and the next contestant Cait momentarily stunned as she thought to herself "how the fuck do I top that".

While Byrne had a large possie who he referred to as "his lads", his aim of a world wide revolution to make every student "his lad", his hilarious campaign video and the sheer energy he has will make him the heavy favourite for Ents officer as the remaining contestants seem extremely similar and fail to stand out. While the others seem to take the campaign more seriously, it may be only Pat that realises that the Ents position is really as much a joke as he is a party animal.

The position of Fiance officer held another clear winner with Declan Meenagh being the only one who has the experience, ideas and charisma. Conor Curly seemed a tad on the cocky and arrogant side which I presume he meant to be confidence. He held no real or likely policies. Damien Gorman was inaudible at best through his thick accent and didn't seem to convey any idea of what Finance Officer does, except that it has something to do with money. While the two other lads had better sight, they clearly lacked the vision and genuine wit that Declan possesses who won on every question.

Gaelic and Cultural Affairs officer was contested by by two men with similar policies but it was Naoise Ó Cearúil who seemed the more likely man over Caoimhín Ó Caoláin. However his stance on not wanting to join USI and perhaps likely future positions in future elections may cause him to lose votes among more anti-Fianna Fáil students. A Re-Opening of Nominations may be a likelihood for a small and generally ignored position.

Micheál Hughes, while recovering from a session of fire breathing last night spoke out on every issue and his friendly nature an engaging with the issues approach make shim the perfect only-runner in the St. Pats Rep spot.

The U.S.I stance was split down the issue with both Declan, Michéal, Louise and Pat for USI while the others were either opposed or just sat on the fence. The crowd seemed massively in favour of U.S.I which may be a clear indication of its result tomorrow. The 'No' vote was out again today but was pretty watery and largely unconvincing with the addition of small vote no fliers with had the pathetic excuse of "it'll cost you €38,000" the only writing on it.
The Yes campaign was out again with enthusiastic force today with further positive reactions from lecture addresses and its large on campus presence.

Tomorrow will be the voting day and every candidate will be out trying to get those extra few votes from the remaining uncertain voters. Lets hope they don't run on empty until the polls close at 6 tomorrow. Best of luck to all........

For Pats video go to!/video/video.php?v=104881016201787


Inside Eye......The Best Of The Rest

It’s a long way to the top.....

We at The Observer would be quite remiss to not mention the other exec positions up for grabs this Wednesday.The sole reason for this disproportionate coverage is that we simply ran out of time. We would very much like to have covered every position and their respective candidates and do big fancy articles like we did for the presidential candidates. Time may be relative, but you try telling that to a deadline.

So what we’re going to do here is go through each position and VERY briefly discuss who we believe will win. I’ll point out now that these aren’t necessarily who I think people should vote for, or who I myself am voting for on Wednesday. These are merely breakdowns of the odds on favorites. Here goes....

VP Education/Welfare

Observer Pick To Win: Lydia Farrell

Despite the by this point very familiar refrain of “Let Liz love your student body” from Liz Murray’s re-election campaign, the most effective of the advertising campaigns has been from Lydia Farrell. From the artistic posters, to the free cake, to striking the first blow in the Chalk War, Lydia has entrenched herself in poll position coming into poll week. Accessible on the campaign trail, and with a team that has been ever present on North Campus, it would appear that on Wednesday Lydia will be leaving the opposition cursing a blue streak.

VP Comms/Dev

Observer Pick To Win: Rob Munnelly

In a close race it would appear that experience is going to win out. David Tuohy is a nice guy, very enthusiastic, and could cause an upset. Even after Monday’s disastrous hustings performance, he is still extremely popular. But it’s more likely that Rob, having proved time and time again that he is amply qualified for this job, will win this one.

Finance Officer

Observer Pick To Win: Declan Meenagh

Experience, class, humour, and a sweet top hat- just some of the words that can be used to describe Declan Meenagh’s campaign for Finance. His manifesto sets out the best and most achievable goals of the lot, and his opposition comes in the form of one man who is too pre-occupied with ridding the world of Sex and The City, and another who suffers solely from not being as good as Declan. Meenagh for the win.


Observer Pick To Win: Pat Byrne

The Ents job is all about having a laugh, and no one made The Observer laugh more at hustings than Pat Byrne. Whereas his opposition took the hustings very seriously, Pat came up and told a story about him, his mates, and a tumbleweed hanging out in the SU. When everyone tried to grab attention with wordplay or whipping their top off, Pat made what can only be described as an incredible campaign video. Look it up. Winner.

Cultural Affairs and Irish Language Officer

Observer Pick To Win: Naoise Ó Cearúil

We honestly have no clue about this job, and struggle to watch TG4 even when the shows are in English, so we base this solely on crowd reactions at hustings

St. Pats Rep

Observer Pick To Win: Micheál Hughes

A no-brainer. Micheál is running unopposed in this category. A dedicated and politically enthusiastic candidate, and an overall nice guy, Micheál should win this one.


Inside Eye......Michelle "Shelly" O'Leary

Mussolini made the trains run on time, but can Shelly make the canteen?

Age: 23

Hometown: Ballineen

Manifesto Highlights:

· Plan for the future: By introducing a careers week with guest speakers and expert advice, Shelly hopes to get us Maynoothians out of recession and into employment. No need to emigrate Staines!

· Library Times: By opening the library during busier times ie. The two weeks around exams. May need to wait for new library is built before planning any new changes.

· Fight for your right: To Party? No to campaign in the fight against fees (something everyone seems to be against) and make sure the canteen is built on time.

· Mixed Bag: Hopes to make student life Easier (than it already is?) by developing facilities across the board such as parking, better accommodation and better events.

On the Campaign:

To this blogger, Shelly’s campaign has been as quiet and as obscure as the village in West Cork that she hails from. While last week she had a number of people campaigning on her behalf, Monday saw her cutting a paltry figure outside the arts block and has seemed to have either fallen to a mutiny or has thought the Jason Whelan technique of no campaign team may give her a better chance. While probably the nicest candidate on the ballot, her minimalistic approach to campaigning has been so successful that no one knows she’s actually running! Her manifesto, while idealistic, has no real plans on how to do them! At Hustings, she was, quiet, mundane and replied with non-contributory answers for fear she would offend someone. However her joke question about Roy Keane at the 2002 World Cup split the room, which may even lose her half of the votes she would have gotten for being so nice. She seems to believe she can defeat her opponents with kindness. Unfortunately her opposition has killer dance moves and scantily clad women. Not even the unlikely promise of a guaranteed on time canteen could save her and would better have been replaced with a promise to annex St.Pats fully into NUIM by armed force. The idea that she can have builders complete the new canteen and stay to a deadline, if actually plausible would by far be a miracle on a par with Jesus turning water into wine. If this is the case and Shelly gets elected, I will eat my hat and invite her to my house to speed the constructions.

Student Observer Odds: 250/1


Inside Eye......Gavin Brady

Sex, stamps and......hopscotch.

Age: 20

Hometown: Clonsilla

Manifesto Highlights:

· Introduction of Student Loyalty Card: One of the more original manifesto policies and regarded by the candidate as “his baby”. At hustings, Gavin proposed the introduction of a student loyalty card which would coincide with the current student card. This invention would work in the same way as a Tesco club card, giving students a bonus for attending S.U events and to encourage greater student interaction with it’s Union which has been flailing in recent years.

· Remake of S.U Website: While more a job for the V.P for Comms and Dev., Gavin hopes to work closely on making the site far more accessible then it already is. This would be no mean feat, considering that nobody I know actually uses the thing. Then again, an increase of five people could be regarded as a success.

· Laser Card facilities on campus: The facility is pretty self explanatory

· Private Parking system for students: Another interesting idea which would relieve the disastrous parking situation in the University. He proposes a cheaply implemented parking scheme for commuting students which would whittle down the number of non academic and student parkers from availing from the parking and apparently easier for security to spot the cheaters.

On the Campaign...

While the Aengus machine has been making popular strides at on the canvas and at the betting shops but Gavin and his ‘Brady Bunch’ of campaigners are not too far behind him as we head into the final day before the vote. Gavin’s advertising has been in another league and could be all the difference to many of the universities swing voters. Nothing encourages a vote more than when the suggestion is spread across a gigantic bosom. The only flaw in the plan comes on election day when no one can find Lucy Pinder’s name on the ballot paper and vote for Jason Whelan for his Micheal Jackson moves from Hustings day. While he has come under scrutiny from a lot of the politically aware on campus, Gavin has showed that he is up to the task and his friendly and joking nature may swing him a lot of second preferences which may call it at the end of the day. Many students have fallen victim to his ink stamps with even rival candidates branded by his mark. His teams entry into the ongoing ‘battle of the chalk’ was by far the most imaginative with a giant game of hopscotch leading to a massive ‘Vote for Gav’. Will he hop, skip and jump his way to the presidency or will it turn into a game of snakes and ladders?

Student Observer Odds: 4/1


Inside Eye......Jason Whelan

Gonna dig me a hole......
Age: 20
Hometown: Ballon, Carlow
Course: English and History (Arts, Joint Honours)
Manifesto promises: move up completion date on new canteen, liase with all clubs and socs, stand against fees, promote unity.

A man doing “The Robot” is not what one might expect to see during the presidential hustings, but Jason Whelan’s campaign has been nothing if not unorthadox. All that was really known (by most) of Jason prior to this campaign was that the guy plays one hell of a game of pool. What we know now is that, for better or for worse, Jason has been by far the most entertaining part of these elections.

First, the positives. As he says himself, he’s operating “on a shoestring”. Other campaigns have had many volunteers, t-shirts, posters. For Jason, it’s just him and his business cards. And for one man, he’s been absolutely everywhere in the last week, having great time for anyone who approaches him. His minimalist approach to his campaign is quite refreshing. Secondly, at last week’s hustings, the man was a fountain of charisma. Comfortable, honest, funny, and self-deprecating, had that been his only action in the campaign, and had it been viewed by all, he would have done quite well.

But unfortunately for Jason’s presidential prospects, that was not the case. A murmur of criticism reached The Observer’s ears last week. It was rumoured (I can’t stress RUMOURED enough) that because of Jason’s religious beliefs (He is a very proud Roman Catholic), he was believed to be anti-gay. In a college with one of, if not the highest proportion of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender students of the Irish universities, an accusation such as this can be devestating come election day. His answer to this during hustings was “The good Lord says ‘Love thy neighbour’ so i will”. Viewed by many as a cop out rather than an explanation, the criticisms continued. In an attempt to squash these accusations, Jason registered on and tried to answer. This proved a poor decision as the board members descended on him. More accusations were laid on Jason, from views on abortion, to him being a Marxist (His Facebook says he is a ‘Christian Socialist’), even that he may be a BNP sympathiser (Presumably this comes from his alleged views on homosexuality, as I can’t see how he can hypothetically by far left and far right all at once). He was also baited into larger arguments on his religion, and inexplicably, the Israel/Palestine conflict. Whether any of these accusations are true or not, Jason did terrible, perhaps decisive damage to his prospects on the boards.
Jason’s placement on Wednesday will be determined solely on word of mouth. How far will these accusations spread before polls open? And how fast will his denials spread? Will it be enough? We’re betting it won’t be.

Student Observer Odds: Jason 50/1 to win

Inside Eye......Tara Clarke

Will Maynooth go Green?
Age: 22
Hometown: Dublin
Course: Chemistry
Manifesto Promises: Better waste management system, increase recycling, better communication between students and union, address inadequate resource concerns.

For anyone who’s seen any of her campaign material, it is clear that Tara Clarke’s concerns in this job are environmental. So much so that it’s difficult to distinguish between her presidential campaign and her Green Week campaign. Even her manifestos are recyclable. All credit to Tara, she’s committed like you read about to this cause. But The Observer is concerned that this is all she cares about. In terms of accessability, we’ve seen her twice. Both times she was pimping Green Week and not her campaign. A noble cause indeed, but it’s not the end of the world. Well, yeah, it is technically, but you know what I mean....

A president is supposed to represent, address and attempt to resolve the concerns of the broader student body, and with all due respect, most students don’t give a toss about the environment. Or at least, don’t care sufficiently to allow the president to dedicate most of her time to it. And as a final negative point, at last week’s hustings, Tara was asked about her anti-fees stance, despite the fact that she’s a member of The Green Party. Her response was that she wasn’t a member of the Green Party, but a member of the YOUNG GREENS. Yeah........

But she does have a quality that not all other candidates have. Simon Cowell would call it the “likeability factor”, but that man’s a tool, so I prefer to be without the correct words on this occasion. At last week’s hustings, she had the enthusiasm necessary to tackle the mammoth task that lays ahead. And she believes more in promoting the issues she supports more than she promotes herself as a candidate, and in all probability, this will cost her a lot of votes. As a strong third in the minds of The Observer, we refuse to completely rule her out, and for the sake of competition, we don’t want to rule her out. But it’s an uphill battle.

Student Observer Odds: Tara 8/1 to win


Inside Eye......Aengus Ó Maoláin

Can he be caught?
Age: 24

Hometown: Clontarf, but Maynooth for the last four years
Course: MA Music Performance and Musicology
Manifesto Promises: SU Bar improvements, Better and cheaper services for students, more sports awareness and participation, more transparent capitation for Clubs and Socs, Weekly C&S Newsletter, no increase in student levy.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Aengus has all the momentum coming into election week. With a strong and dedicated grassroots movement, and a powerful showing at last week’s hustings, it appears this election is Aengus’ to lose. The Observer had heard his name mentioned excitedly before any others, and those mentions have only gotten more frequently. Of all the candidates for this job, Aengus has proven the most accessable (with the possible exception of Gavin Brady), having encountered The Observer at least half a dozen times in the last week asking if we had any questions or would like to see more from his campaign.
But is it that easy for him? Based on last week’s hustings, the answer seems to be yes. Rather than opting to be verbose at every opprtunity like some of his adversaries, or to have the loudest voice, like some others, he was succinct in his answers, almost every one of which was greeted with rapturous applause by those present. His entire campaign has not been based on eye-catching posters, on witty slogans, or on ridiculous promises, and he has steered clear of any mud slinging (as, to their credit, has almost everyone), and through this he has become the favourite to succeed Brian Murphy.

One can’t shake the feeling, however, that if Aengus does win this election that it will be because “everybody else was voting for him”, a herd mentality. Aengus talks the talk, he carries himself like a politician, but is that what Maynooth needs? The people so far seem to suggest that Aengus is their man for the job, and in the best of worlds, the best man for the job is the one who gets it. Is he the best? We’ll find out Wednesday

Student Observer Odds: Aengus 1/2 to win


Cutthroat Question Control, swans, and Javascript

It can only be the mile a minute world of VP Comms and Dev.

Monday afternoon of election week and The Observer is sat in the new Common Room dying for a bottle of coke. But the stage is now set (literally and metaphorically) for the day’s hustings, so this writer will stuggle on against the forces of thirst for the sake of journalistic integrity.

Today is the turn of the VP Comms and Development postition. Before this article can begin proper, you will have to forgive this writer for a lack of technological accumen (If I can get an essay typed, it’s a victory), so a lot of things went over my head during the course of this afternoon’s proceedings. This position, above almost all other exec positions, is highly technical. Or so I have come to learn.

Our two combatants for this position are Rob Munnelly and David Tuohy. Rob’s literature establishes his primary goal as a revamp of the college’s currently god awful “The Print” newspaper. Tuohy is the same though his concerns seem heavily focused on cost-effectiveness. Anyway, to this afternoon’s main event...

Rob Munnelly was the first to speak and immediately this reviewer noticed a problem. Almost the very first thing he did was to list all the journalism work he’s done, calling it “relevant work”. This is curious, because on page 8 of the NUIMSU Election Handbook, when asked what qualities are needed for the job, he said “Let’s be clear: being VP Comms and Dev has almost nothing to do with journalism”.Curious indeed. To Mr. Munnelly’s credit, he cleverly includes the qualifier “almost”,but this is a strange comment nonetheless.

But despite this initial hurdle, the core of Munnelly’s speech sounds like a man with a clear vision for this position. Speaking of the aforementioned “Print”, Munnelly said “An effective student newspaper is the lifeblood of a college”. Rob wants a complete overhaul of the publication, putting the blame for previous failures upon a lack of man hours and training. He says that under his administration, such failures would be a thing if the past and we could expect, a new and improved level of student journalism (though quite frankly, the only way the quality can really go is up.)

Moving down the list of his proposals, the most promising mention was the idea of a message board for students, presumably of the nature of most phpBB message boards one might encounter. There was no mention in this speech of what that board may consist of, how it would be moderated, and by who, but it is certainly an avenue that should be explored by whoever wins. His final major proposal was his most unique. To save money and hassle, Munnelly proposes the incorporation of printer card chips into student cards. He insists that all necessary parties are interested in making this a reality, so it will be interesting to see how practical such a concept may be.

Dave Tuohy took to the stage with a tumult of applause from his small but vocal fan club. Tuohy makes no secret that among his priorities is a great improvement in the quality of college sports in publications like The Print. A great idea for sure, but surely the overall quality of the Print and the SU website should be the priority. Those are the only issues The Observer has heard the student body talking about. But understandably, the man is playing to his strengths. He is a sports writer after all. Tuohy also took care to stress how crucial the promotion of student bands is, and this is true. On far too many nights, The Venue sits idle. We don’t have a vibrant college music scene here, and the bands themselves suffer for it. A committment is needed,in the form of a joint operation between Ents and Comm/Dev to create a music scene here. But Tuhoy’s suggestion for getting the word out? Myspace. I’ll say that again, myspace. All i need to say about that is that current Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Myers recently described myspace as “The internet’s abandonned amusement park”. To say that this particular proposal is dated is to say that we are prone to the odd spot of rain in these parts. No offense to Mr. Tuohy, but if this is what he expects will get him elected, The Observer will run for Ents Officer on a platform of introducing Stickball Night. From this point in Tuohy’s speech it had become evident that he had lost the crowd. Except Team Tuohy in the corner, still rabid for evry syllable. Rob could have just gone home after this speech, reasonably assured a victory, haveing presented an altogether more professional and organised campaign. However much Tuohy attempted to win back the electorate with enthusiasm, no amount of vim and vigour could save him from what this reviewer began to realise as being an inevitability.

Perhaps most bruising of all to the Tuohy campaign was how he fared on questions from the floor. While his heart is in the right place, and he has correctly identified the things the student body require from future Comms/Dev work, those present began to question whether he is actually capable of accomplishing any of these things. When questions of programming, publishing software, and many things I can’t even spell were thrown at him, David faltered. Some present were of the belief that Rob had planted these questions in the crowd in order to deliberately expose his opponent. If this is true, while certainly not the cleanest of tactics, one has to be reminded that politics is a dirty game, and Rob simply played it better.


Tweeting Up a Storm

Call it selling out, following trends, or what have you, but The Student Observer is now on Twitter!

We are hoping to use this very convenient medium to bring you news on election/results day as we hear them, and in lieu of having a hundred blog updates in a day, we have opted for this entirely more concise option. We will also be using our Twitter to alert you readers about what we are doing to bring you the best University news coverage we can, and what you can expect to see in the future.

So if you're partial to the odd tweet, follow us at:

And a final plug, for those of you who have already contacted us, we thank you very much, and will be getting back to you hopefully today, but we want more people to contact us! We are YOUR platform and want you to get involved. Ideas, articles, things you'd like us to cover, drop us an email at:

studentobserverireland@gmail .com

Don't worry. We don't bite.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Countdown to the Referendum...... U.S.I Yay or Ney?

While the Yes campaign was out in force today, this time sporting Yes to U.S.I T'shirts, we failed to see any substantial NO argument put forward. While some students, including myself, were subjected to candidates begging for our vote before a lecture began, we were also victim to the often inarticulate arguments on why USI is bad.

While there was an argument put forward by former exec member Mark Seery in the election handbook (that was released earlier today to the student masses), his arguments to not joining USI were easily refutable by the many vocal and informative Yes campaigners. The lecture addresses, as in this students case, was boiled down to the €5 levy on each student for ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP!

While Seery himself failed to show at the USI hustings for the argument, his replacement Gemma McGrory, did little better in convincing the crowd. While out talking to students about the issue it seems that only a small group or loud talkers are dominating the No campaign.

Further still, it seems that a startling majority of these are members of the NUIM branch of Ógra Fianna Fáil. Are these young Soldiers of destiny campaigning for the better of their fellow students? Or are they perhaps towing the bigger party line in the fear that a stronger USI with the possibility of every university as a member could unstable the Government if it tries to implement either a higher registration fee or in fact 3rd level fees.

Maybe tomorrow will pose an exciting last day on the canvass and maybe the NOs will pull one out of the bag........

For now,


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Coming This Week In The Observer:

Tomorrow we begin our full blown coverage of election and referendum week. We at The Observer, in the name of bringing to you the most complete coverage of this year's NUIMSU Elections and the USI referendum available, will be bringing you the following this week:

  • Articles on each Presidential Candidate (with their policies, performance, and what way the student body is likely to lean)
  • Breakdown of the other election candidates (Comms, Welfare, Finance)
  • Ongoing coverage of election week
  • Reports on the ongoing USI debate.
Also, I'd like to remind anyone that may read this that we would be absolutely delighted to receive any correspondance from queries to article contributions. We would particularly like to hear from anyone running this week, as we would very much like a Q&A session with at least one of the candidates as part of a feature on the campaign trail we're working on. We want you all to have a voice!

Our email address as always:

Bye for now,


Beat the Recession: Run for the Union

Without trying to sound like the countless number of articles and blogs that document the woeful circumstances that this economic crisis, known as "The Recession" has had for the "Young People" of Ireland, I feel like I have to comment on it in some way.

Many of us have friends who have recently graduated from university or are on the verge of doing so ourselves and have now come into a world where the opportunities of the Celtic Tiger have long gone. Students are faced with the the following options:

1. Emigrate. We all know someone who has gone to the likes of Canada, Australia and the States to name just a few in search of greener pastures and to take the jobs of the locals. I can't help but feel the irony on those who complained about the Poles who seemed to "take our jobs" in the boom years only to have to leave themselves.

2. The Dole. An even more attractive option for the home bird student. With the lack of career opportunities at the moment, many are deciding to ride out the recession for a couple years. Whether this method works or just breeds a generation of work-a-phobia remains to be seen.

3. Stay in college. Yes why not stay in college for a couple more years either by doing a post-grad or simply failing a couple years then repeating.

However, since the nominations for the Union Council elections opened a vast majority of students have applied for the various sabbatical positions giving way to the name of the "Dole-Line elections".

And why not. Take a year out. Get paid for hanging out in college and of course, improve the C.V
While this is of course and extremely cynical view, one must look into the motives of the respective candidates and ask why would they want this job? Are they looking to better the welfare of the students they represent? Or is it for personal gain.

Of the three Sabbatical positions in NUIM, both the Presidential and VP for Welfare and education have 5 candidates and for the majority of them, their motives seem to be slightly dubious. For this blogger, only VP for Comms. and Dev. candidate Robert Munnelly seems to have any form of revolutionary vision for the University.

For the Presidential race (which will be commentated on in more detail in future blogs), an interesting race is emerging. While Labour Youth member and favorite Aengus O'Maoláin seems to have the election, one must be critical of his clear populist approach. While probably the most able of the candidates, is he just using this as an opportunity to further potential political ambitions and if so, do we really care?

Jason Whelan, while he favors himself as a likely winner, is nothing but a self achieving careerist who is out of touch with reality and sits on the fence on every issue in a lame attempt to widen his diminishing support base.

Gavin Brady, while causing a stir with his posters, seems the dark horse to O'Maoláin, coming out in support of U.S.I, which may eat into the favorites votes. But we must ask would he make a good president for OUR Student Union or does he have the substance to match his likable approach and entertaining campaign. While he does seem a tad jack-the-lad, he may turn some heads.

The two female candidates of Shelley O'Leary and Tara Clarke seem to be on the outside with the former a complete non-entity at the hustings and extremely wishy washy in her answers and opinions. Young Green Clarke, while enthusiastic and energetic may poll ahead of Brady and Whelan seems over concerned with environmental issues and her ties to a in government party may damage her campaign extensively.

Yes it seems like an interesting campaign is under way and will be followed closely in the remaining few days. Stay tuned.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

US(I) or them?: NUI Maynooth to vote on joining U.S.I - Juvenal

This Wednesday, along with the Union elections, NUIM students will be voting on whether to join the ranks of the Union of Students in Ireland (U.S.I.). The referendum, if passed, will bring the University back into the Union, which it had been in for only nine months nearly ten years ago.

This vote has caused quite a stir among the students who are politically minded with a strong Yes campaign emerging last week.. While those saying No have shown nothing except loud voices and complaints about the €5 levy to every student, can we expect a proper campaign from them in the last few remaining days of canvassing?

But are the majority of students bothered about USI? A poll on has the question posted and while the Yes side has a vast majority, those that aren't concerned are larger than those saying no. While the Yes vote seems a clear pass, will the Irish condition of not voting for what we don't fully understand *cough* Lisbon *cough* unstick the momentum of the energetic Yes Campaigners? If so, will there be a rerun because it's students voted incorrectly? I doubt it.

Unlike Fianna Fail, The Students Union would have little appetite for a rerun in it's present condition and even if a majority Labour Youth influenced exec get elected on Wednesday would they take the plunge of an all out Yes to USI from the Union? So far the only Presidential candidate to have a vocal support for USI has been Gavin Brady. Are the others sitting on the fence for political reasons and the fear of splitting their potential vote. Say what you will about Gavin and his campaign but the guy has stones!

While many students couldn't care about who represents them and organizes Charity Week (RAG), the vote on USI is extremely important. While I will discuss the arguments for Yes and No in future blogs, I urge all students to look into what the advantages of a national union of students would entail for them and OUR University on the national stage. This Blogger certainly feels that a national union with NUIM is certainly better for both USI and NUIM. Let us not be divided by the cost of a pint.

To see poll and its ongoing debate see:


Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage: Juvenal & Pangloss

Welcome all to The Student Observer. This Blog is designed to inform students of political issues both from within the the Universities of Ireland and on a national level. This blog is written BY students For students. We aim to engage and inform everyone on the going's on of OUR representatives both at Student Union level and nationally. We are a neutral in our political beliefs and are not spouting any party's agenda. We go by our core motto and aim is to discuss the following:

Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

-Juvenal & Pangloss