Impact News

The Students’ Union will subsidise travel costs of Irish students in upcoming abortion referendum

The Students’ Union at the University of Nottingham (UoN) is offering up to £110 of travel bursary to encourage Irish students at the UoN to travel home to vote in the upcoming referendum regarding the repeal of the 8th amendment. 

This comes after the 434th Union Council session, where Seagh Kehoe’s motion to ask the Students’ Union to launch a ‘Home to V8te’ campaign on campus and for the Students’ Union to set up a travel fund to assist students to get home to vote on May 25th was passed.

The upcoming referendum in Ireland deals with pregnant women in Ireland not having access to safe and legal abortions.

Impact was able to talk to Cassie O’Boyle, the SU Education Officer who is leading this project.

“I wanted to use my platform to speak out for women who do not have the luxury of safe and legal access to healthcare as we do in the U.K.”

“During the council, I spoke out in support of the motion because I had consulted the Education Network and reps across 16 different departments and schools [who] were in favour of this motion. Also, fundamentally as a female student leader, I wanted to use my platform to speak out for women who do not have the luxury of safe and legal access to healthcare as we do in the U.K.”

The travel bursary is finite and will be allocated first come first served.

Do you know how many Irish students are currently studying at UoN?

“The motion stated we have 110 students who could access a travel bursary- these are Irish students eligible to vote, though I am sure there are more students- like the proposer of the motion- who are Irish citizens but have lost eligibility to vote because of the amount of time they have lived out of Ireland.”

Has there been any backlash from students/organisations/etc once the support from the Students’ Union was announced?

“Not at all, it’s worth saying [that] there are 2 separate parts of the motion happening in parallel. Primarily the travel bursary which is accessible to all Irish students regardless of their voting intentions, whether they are yes or no doesn’t matter. The second part is a statement of support for the repeal campaign.

“Union council is an incredible way to shape the direction of the Union and what the Officers do”

“We have actually received a huge amount of positive feedback, from not just our Irish students but students in general at the University who believe this was an important campaign for us to join, but also from other students across the country and most notably Irish citizens across the U.K. and Ireland who really appreciate the solidarity.”

Finally, Cassie is encouraging students to bring forth their own motions during Union Councils. “For anyone who sees this campaign as a victory, I would really urge you to bring motions to the Union Council. This all started from 1 person’s motion, asking the union to support their campaign and now we have access to £1200 to support our students travelling home, within a matter of days.

“Union council is an incredible way to shape the direction of the Union and what the Officers do. They have finished for this year now but anyone around next year- please come up with ideas and present motions at the first one of 2018/19”

Sarah Lindgarde

Image courtesy of ‘Martin Sylvestervia Flickr.
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