In 2017 Katie Ascough stirred up controversy, and was eventually impeached due to her pulping of SU material containing advice for the procurement of an abortion. While a bugbear of the conservative right on campus, those who turned the knife on Ascough made it clear that her position had been compromised and revealed blatant political bias on her side. Bias that could have potentially endangered students seeking a termination.
Now imagine, if you would, a world where a Catholic conservative President of UCDSU had instead fallen for a honeypot operated by journalists from University Observer posing as anti-abortion activists. Imagine she passed on, or promised to pass on, names and details of individuals belonging to pro-choice groups, said she wanted to bug meetings of political opponents, expressed blasé opinions on political violence, or sent on training material to these journalists sourced from a far right organisation on how to combat Repeal activists.
What the result of this purely hypothetical scenario would be is obvious. This person’s time as UCDSU President would be irreversibly compromised, damaging her credibility in a way far worse than the pulping of any material could ever do. Aspects of the Irish media at both student and national level would have ended up dedicating multiple pieces ranting about a latent, big money Catholic conspiracy on campus endangering the wellbeing of progressive students. In short, the UCDSU President would have no other option other than to resign.
With this hypothetical scenario examined, let us turn back again to the very real situation of senior members of the Union of Students in Ireland collaborating with self-described Antifa. This collaboration is bad enough when you consider that the job of union officials is to act in the interest of all union members, not just progressive ones. However, this goes far beyond mere political partisanship.
To summarise, a large portion of the seniority of the Union of Students of Ireland — the organization’s President, Vice President and President of NUS-USI, expressed their clear support for what amounts to a far-left project with the aim of seriously harming students. Some were seemingly even willing to abuse their political power to help such a project to succeed.
What prompted these high ranking officials to act with such blatant disregard for the student body? One very simple fact: part of the student body holds different political opinions than they do, and that cannot be tolerated.
These officials were willing to cooperate with what they believed to be an Antifa cell, a cell that had the stated intention to harm students socially, professionally and physically. They gave this cooperation willingly for the sole reason of forwarding their own political agenda.
From approving the bugging of Young Fine Gael meetings to their willingness to engage in, or at the very least cheerlead physical assault, the actions of senior members of the USI have discredited the organization as a whole. There is only one fix for this, and that is mass resignation.
To be clear, this was not a case of mere individual malpractice. What the Irish Antifa Project has exposed is a systemic issue of ideological corruption. A corruption which places students in direct danger.
Members of the USI executive went into this with their eyes open. By their own admission they wanted to do students harm, validating the long held stereotype that the USI is just an ideologically driven cartel living fat off student funds.
The fact that, as of writing, only one resignation has resulted from these outrageous findings is testament to the ideological rot at the heart of Irish student life, as well as the USI executive’s protected status as budding members of our managerial elite.
The overgrown babies who inhabit these boardrooms at a student level will be in positions of serious political power in the near future. The Irish Antifa Project has shone a spotlight into how corrupt these would-be Stasi members are, and to what lengths they will go to clamp down on opponents. Their dishonest nature is only made worse by the fact they were so easily outsmarted.
Our undercover journalists always made it to these USI officials that they wished to do students serious harm. All those detailed in the Irish Antifa Project, in one way or another, were willing collaborators. There is no wriggle room, or at least there shouldn’t be, for those who cooperate with Antifa organising at any level, but especially not an elite one.
It’s time for students to dismantle this cartel, dismiss the quangos that make it up and ideally make sure people like these never enter official life again. The first step in this process is making sure these people in the USI resign, and do so as soon as possible.
Until these resignations happen though, The Burkean will continue this project of exposing those present in our institutions who would betray the student body, wherever they may hide. The USI is filled with such power hungry elites, but it is not the only student union in this country that suffers from such corruption.
Tomorrow, the Irish Antifa Project will reveal similar corruption within a different student union, and just like with the USI, this union will only be salvageable once its elite are forced to resign.