Saturday, March 5, 2011

Education Welfare Manifestos Maynooth

So here we have it, the final few days of the SU elections. I took it upon myself to have a brief look at the manifestos for the Education and Welfare candidates. I had started to actually summarise and pull apart the manifestos that I could get my hands on (apologies to Caoimhghín Ó’Caoláin and Stephen O’Reilly). So those included in this piece are (in no particular order) Gearóid Brennan’s, Fiach O Neil’s, Cathal Óg Donnelly’s and Sabrina Farnan’s.

Overall there are some very good points to be had out of each manifesto. Gearóid’s has ambitions to add a defibrillator programme to the campus, which seems like an excellent idea, but is let down by promising such things as ‘Some departments have really embraced the virtual world. Sadly, some lecturers have not, with some point-blank refusing to use it … I would propose to the university authorities that any department not using moodle at all would face a budget cut.’ This seems slightly unbalanced and perhaps a little unrealistic to be placing fiscal penalties on departments for non compliance to Welfare policies. A good manifesto, if a bit lengthy but suffers from slightly from focusing on issues that are obviously close to this candidate’s heart, but lead to what some might deem unfeasible promises.

Next up is Fiach, who presents a stalwart manifesto full of very good ideas that are based on existing programmes. For example his Safe Talk Training Programme and the Online Welfare Database. As a reader it is hard ot fault this manifesto as it comes across as knowledgable and shows history of accumulated experiences. Overall a tidy and concise manifesto.

Next up is Cathal Óg’s manifesto, which again has some very good and novel ideas such as a video blog of a trip to an STD clinic. It does however fall into the same pitfalls as the former manifesto, but perhaps not as many times. One question worth asking this candidate is how he plans to provide the ‘free’ English lessons for the international students? Overall this manifesto is more concise that Gearóid’s, and ends up reading easier and taking a slightly more toned down approach to his ambitions if elected.

Last, but not least is Sabrina Farnan’s manifesto which again like the previous candidates has some very amicable ideas, such as promoting Healthy Eating and Imroving Walkways for the disabled. The manifesto is however a little on the short side and a little sparse on the policy side. It does not however contain any outlandish promises which is refreshing.

Overall the standard of manifestos are good, with some promising more than others. The experience of the candidates is varied and each of them can offer something unique the position. In reading through their manifestos I have certainly been educated on the position and can safely say I will be asking the candidates I feel have the strongest arguments some more questions before I make my mind up, which all of you should do. Their manifestos serve as a plan for their year if elected. Read them and assess how achievable and more importantly how will they change the position for the better?

I invite you to read all of their manifestos, to question your candidates and make an informed decision. 

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