UCD rejects petition to impeach SU President Katie Ascough

A petition by the University College Dublin student body to impeach current Students’ Union President Katie Ascough has been rejected by the union.

Returning Officer Stephen Devine refused the petition on Monday October 2nd over questions of its validity as the petition did not include a section for students to write their signature.

The group of twenty students began collecting signatures for a new petition on her removal last Wednesday.

The group are calling for Ascough to be impeached after the UCD SU were forced to retract their “Winging it in UCD” handbook when information on abortion breached the Abortion Information Act of 1995.

This Act makes it illegal to publish information regarding abortion “in a book, newspaper, journal, magazine, leaflet or pamphlet, or any other document.”

The handbook contained information such as price lists for abortion clinics outside of Ireland and advice on purchasing illegal abortion pills online. The removal and reprinting of a revised edition cost the UCD SU €8,000.

Over 1,620 students placed their name on the original petition. 835 signatures, or 3.5 per cent of the student body were required to impeach Ascough.

Ascough has been criticised before on her pro-life position on the eighth amendment, despite the college voting in November 2016 to retain the union’s pro-choice stance.

If a petition was successful and a referendum was to take place, 10 per cent of the student body must vote for the referendum to be legitimate.

UCD Welfare Officer Eoghan Mac Domhnaill issued a statement on Facebook regarding the issue: “As angry as I was, and still am, that that information was taken out I’m not going to sit idle while people circle around my friend and my president.”

“Katie, in my eyes has, bar this incident been an absolutely phenomenal president.

“I’ll not be signing any impeachment documentation and should a referendum be called I’ll be standing by Katie all the way,” said Mac Domhnaill.

DCU SU President Niall Behan said that he “understands why students would feel disjointed at the moment.”

“No matter our personal beliefs, we are behind the mandate, the student union must hold the view of the majority, and cannot stand behind a personal stance.”

“It’s up to UCD students to decide if there is a broken mandate, we here at DCU feel that we must uphold the student body’s view and we feel we’ve done this so far this year.”

Ascough was unavailable to comment when contacted.

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