TU Dublin Students’ Union Leadership Candidates Debate 2024 

By Millie Reid and Jamie Ryan 

 

The TU Dublin Students’ Union (SU) leadership debate took place on Friday, 15th March in Grá Bar in Smithfield.  

For the TU Dublin SU President, there were three candidates in the running; Robert Brennan Bell, Shauna O’Toole, and Nekesa Khisa.  

Due to illness, Bell could not be in attendance for the debate but the current Deputy President and VP for Communications and Media, Louise Kavanagh, delivered a speech on Bell’s behalf.  

“I may be dying of pneumonia in hospital,” Bell wrote, “but I am dying even more to be the next president of your Union”.  

Bell expressed the need to make students feel more connected between campuses, and they shouldn’t feel “alienated” from others.  

Throughout his campaign, Bell has expressed the need to increase transparency and accountability within the SU.  

 

TU Dublin SU Presidential candidate Robert Brennan Bell – Image from TUDSU website 

 

Following this, O’Toole, the current VP for Academic Affairs, took to the podium to deliver her speech.  

O'Toole is promoting direct action to help aid students in fighting back against the mistreatment of young people in Ireland. 

“At present, I feel the student movement has become complacent and has been absorbed by autocracy. 

"When we work together, we can make real change,” she continued. 

 

TU Dublin SU Presidential candidate Shauna O’Toole - Image by Liam Murphy 

 

Nekesa Khisa, current VP for Welfare & Equality then took to the podium.  

“I bring you the experience, effective communication skills, a vision for positive change and a commitment to inclusivity and diversity,” Khisa said. 

“Given the chance, I will bring solutions to some of the long-time problems that we are faced with,” she continued.  

When asked what changes both candidates would make if elected, O’Toole began by saying; “More protests, block the Clocktower – let Fitzy come out to us,” referring to president of TU Dublin, David Fitzpatrick.  

Khisa said; “I want to make sure that there is more action on campuses” and she wanted to create a “back-to-back communication system between students and the Union.” 

Candidates were then asked whether they believe the role of Campus VPs has been beneficial. 

“I believe that working with the campus vice-presidents is one of the strongest things to do,” Khisa responded. She said the Campus Vice-Presidents are responsible for maintaining good communication and running events.