Roscommon native Joe O’Connor has been elected president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI ) for the coming year. Joe has served as president of GMIT Students Union for two years, and was previously vice president.
Hailing from Kilmore, County Roscommon, he has an honours degree in accounting and a masters in strategy and innovation management. Both his parents are retired; his father was a van driver and his mother a home and social carer. Joe has personal experience of coping with the increasing cost of college, having relied upon the maintenance grant throughout his time in college.
Speaking following his election, he said: “I am honoured to have received overwhelming support and a comprehensive mandate from USI Congress.
“With more and more families being priced out of higher education due to ever-increasing fees and dwindling student supports, the need for effective national representation is more acute than ever. At this time, 10,000 vulnerable students are still waiting on their first maintenance grant payment from SUSI and countless secondary school students wonder if they can afford to attain what should be their right; an education that best equips them to play their part in our country’s recovery.
“I have spent the last three years dealing with students facing these enormous difficulties first-hand. While the challenges ahead will test the student movement like seldom before, I am ready to lead the charge and urge the students of Ireland to join me in the pursuit of a quality and affordable education system.”