Connor Daly, Vice President Campaigns and Communications, has spoken out for the first time on tomorrow’s referendum on the planned outsourcing of QUBSU jobs to private firm G4S. Following last night’s Annual Business Meeting of Student Council, where the
Sabbatical Officer came under fire for a perceived failure in raising awareness on tomorrow’s referendum, Mr. Daly today spoke to The Gown on his efforts to disseminate information about the vote. A full transcript of the interview is now available below:
What efforts have you been making to promote the referendum?
I know there was an accusation made online that the referendum hasn’t been promoted. But the referendum has been promoted since the 3rd of May online. I actually have screenshots of it being promoted via social media avenues by the Student’s Union. We have been promoting it. We’ve been promoting it like any other referendum. If anyone has any problems, I’m always free to hear any suggestions or recommendations. We have been promoting it. Even today, we’ve now got a cover photo up on the SU website. So it's normal procedure for referendums.
Why, then do you think the ‘Vote Yes’ Campaign felt it necessary to produce neutral materials to boost student awareness around the referendum?
I don’t know, to be honest, I think it’s a bit… we will always have a neutral point of view as Sabbatical Officers when it comes to referendums. I think a lot of people went ahead and started getting petitions to be signed
before a meeting was requested with Jason [O’Neill, Union President] to discuss both sides of the argument. So I think a lot of people just went ahead and did those kind of things, went ahead and did the branding and all the rest of it. I wasn’t consulted on that. I’m always here to help anyone. In terms of promotion, you’re saying neutral materials, I’m always happy to hear from students, and take views on board.
Why has the biggest campaign during your time in office not been led by you?
The biggest campaign? No, I would say the biggest campaign would have been the NUS-USI referendum. That was a referendum which had been held a few months beforehand in May, when it was declared void. I think everyone knew that that would have been coming. And then, I did lead that. We got a resounding ‘Yes’ vote and a record high turnout in that.
In terms of this referendum, it’s in terms of the Management Board decision, therefore there’s a lot of students that have come in and have signed petitions and so on. But I think from a campaigning point of view, I think, and as a student representative, it would have been great to have had meetings before petitions were signed.
You’ll be aware that the campaign has generated media coverage from the Irish News to the BBC – why were the BBC referred to the university’s communications department for comment; wouldn’t addressing these types of queries typically fall within the remit of your role?
I think you’d be best speaking to Jason about that.
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