Thursday, November 15, 2007

Online voting proves a winner in SRC Elections

- Barry Magee

On 30th and 31st October QUB students elected a new Student Representative Council (SRC) for 2007/08. With 188 seats on the SRC up for grabs, interest in this year’s election appeared high, particularly within 1st year Humanities.

Overall electoral turnout was reasonable and in total 781 students voted in the election.
When the electoral count was complete 160 councillors had been elected, by their fellow students, to each serve one-year terms.

As all the seats on the SRC were not allocated it is important to note that the shortfall was due to some electoral constituencies not attracting enough interest.Constituencies that were contested included Humanities years 1, 2 & 3 and Medicine year 3 & 4.

Again, no vote took place for those candidates in the Postgraduate constituency and it seems that postgraduate students do not view candidacy for the SRC as a priority. This may be down to work commitments however and not any perceived apathy.

Overall there was a much improved turnout for council elections in comparison to previous years. This has certainly been helped by the new system of online voting which has made voting in student elections much more accessible. Councillor Colm Courtney suggests that ‘online voting has definitely improved the legitimacy of the SRC electoral process’.

This year’s election attracted increased attention, mainly due to the arrival onto the QUB political scene of the Greens and Fianna Fail. Both parties had a reasonable degree of success in their first political outing at Queen’s.

Election results can be found at

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fianna Fail at Queen's

- Nicky McElhatton

In a recent interview with The Gown, Fianna Fáil politican and Irish minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, talked about plans to expand his party in the North.

He failed to conmfirm whether or not this would involve a merger with the SDLP or if Fianna Fail would go it alone, stating that after talks which would conclude around Easter they would have more clarity on the situation.

He stated that not only would the party be targeting voters of a nationalist persuasion but also unionist voters and those from neither backgrounds such as newly settled foreign nationals. Indeed he commented that they had received interest from all camps and were there to represent all their voters.

He did also note that his party would have to be careful in light of the new power sharing agreement and while they aim for success they don’t want to do anything that would upset the balance currently in place.

Ahern was ‘overwhelmed’ with the response his party has received in the North especially amongst students when setting up Fianna Fáil at Queen’s earlier this week and hopes that this support will continue to grow.

Student Council E-mail Scam

The Gown has obtained a copy of a bogus e-mail sent to a select few recently elected student councillors claiming that tonight's inaugural meeting has been "regrettably" cancelled "due to unforeseen circumstances". The e-mail was sent to 29 council members including the Union President and was CC'd to the Vice-President of Education.

Dominic Doherty, the Student's Union Council Clerk whom the e-mail was falsely claimed to have been sent by, has subsequently communicated to all councillors that the e-mail should be disregarded. The scam has been labelled as an "attempt to subvert the democratic processes surrounding the Student's Union Council".

Mr Doherty has made assurances that the matter will be fully investigated and every attempt will be made to trace the sender of the e-mail with expulsion being stated as the appropriate penalty. Councillors are aksed to attend tonight's meeting (which will be held tonight at 6.15pm in the Club Rooms on the third floor of the Union) as a first step to resist the "anti-democratic agenda" the sender is pursuing.

Student's Union politics has always been a colourful state of affairs but this latest incident has managed to get people talking even before official business has begun.