The results of the recent NUI Galway students Union elections marked a watershed in leftist dominance of Student Union politics at NUI Galway.
In the SU election last Friday, candidates supposedly more associated with the ideological far-left lost to more moderate candidates. Sai Gujulla and Joe Mee beat out Criodán Ó Murchú and Shalom Mc Gillen for president and education officer of the NUIGSU respectively.
The two losing candidates were allegedly associated with campus left outgoing NUIG SU president Roisín Nic Lochlainn. Leading up to the election Nic Lochlainn was suffering a scandal after allegations that she attended Sex Toy Bingo and a Fuck The Fees protest while awaiting a covid test result, which turned back positive.
These allegations were made by several submissions by students to the anonymous NUIG Confessions page. Nic Lochlainn had previously been involved in a scandal with the Burkean’s Irish Antifa Project where she claimed that she would be willing to pass on names of individuals she believed to be “Fascists” and that herself and her “contacts” were willing to “get physical”.
In addition came to public attention for involvement with an assault claim with her now ex boyfriend and PBP candidate Joe Loughnane as well as her apparent bottling of SU finances as revealed by The Burkean last year.
Acting like a dying animal, left wing activists have made several unsubstantiated claims against one of the successful candidates, alleging that they were both transphobic and they had made girls feel uncomfortable on nights out.
Despite this, the success of the moderate candidates marks a shift in on campus politics at NUI Galway. As a NUIG Student noted “The college has gone through so much change over the past 5 years. Left wing extremists used to have complete control of the Student’s Union and the Campus bringing an oppressive and suffocating atmosphere to the college. This election result is a breath of fresh air for the vast majority of students”
This change has followed numerous scandals which characterised student politics under the left-wing leadership of the student’s union. Starting with the 2021 public admission by the PBP vice auditor and former rising star of left wing politics in Galway that he had taken improper pictures of a woman without her permission. This happened against the back drop of a push by PBP to introduce a deplatforming policy.
This policy was proposed by the PBP Auditor for the university Conall Mc Callig and the measures received broad support from the campus left and SU officials. Despite the proposal being passed, it was met with intense opposition both in SU meetings and in a student led campaign and petition. Similarly in 2020, opposition to leftist control of the student’s union allowed Simeon Burke to run on a “never Roisin” campaign with relative success. Burke received just under 20% of votes.
In addition to this, after Nic Lochlainn led a referendum in 2021 and secured a reduction in the annual fee that goes towards supporting the SU and various college facilities from €244 to €140, the union ran into financial difficulty. This resulted in a hardening of relations between the union and the university who saw it as a cynical move to leach on payment. As a result, the university management appeared to cut off financial support.
Left wing hegemony of the NUIG student’s union has left a legacy of schism between the student’s union and the university, a heightened sense of apathy and alienation from the student body towards the union, as well as the union being financially crippled. Recent election results demonstrate a marked change in direction for the college.