2024 EQ     1         Legislative Impoverishment of Carers and Persons With Disabilities ***

Submitted by BMW Working Group

Comhdháil notes:

€450 is the weekly wage needed for a high standard of living (Immigration Advice Service)

Comhdháil further notes:

Carers Allowance, Invalidity Pay and Disability Benefit are set well below this figure.

Comhdháil further notes:

Disability Benefit, Invalidity Pay and Carers Allowance come with strict limits on income, permission to acquire education and accessing employment.

Comhdháil further notes:

Ireland has the 5th lowest employment rate for disabled persons in the EU. The harsh impositions and inadequate provisions condemn disabled persons and carers to poverty.

Comhdháil therefore mandates:

The VP for Equality and Citizenship to lobby the Department for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to:

Raise Disability Benefit and Carers Allowance to match the cost of living

Automatically transfer students qualified for receiving Invalidity Pay to Disability Benefit

Abolish the harsh limits on income and working hours

2024 EQ     2         Transgender Healthcare (NI) ***

Proposed by: USI VP for Equality & Citizenship

Comhdháil Notes:

The main public health service for trans and gender diverse adults to access gender-affirming care in Northern Ireland is the Brackenburn Clinic. The service provides assessments, psychological supports and onward referrals, where appropriate, for hormone replacement therapy and surgery. The only way to be referred to the service is either via a GP or a mental health professional.

Comhdháil Notes with Concern:

Due to lack of funding, staffing issues, and a breakdown in the service, as of 2023 the waiting list currently has patients waiting up to 4-6 years for their initial appointment. The Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) had no patients being accepted to the service from 2018-2020, which has since resumed but now refuses new referrals due to the backlog of patients trying to avail of the service. Over the last few years, the NHS has been slowly becoming more privatised, which has led trans patients to turn to private healthcare and self-medicating (administering their hormone replacement therapy themselves). Despite GPs being allowed to provide bridging prescriptions for trans patients, a survey of users of private health provider, GenderGP, found that 80% of NHS GPs had refused, despite having no real grounds to do so.

Comhdháil Commends:

The work done by organisations such as Transgender NI and The Rainbow Project to highlight the current issues the face transgender healthcare and the community.

Comhdháil Mandates:

The VP for Equality & Citizenship and VP for Welfare to engage with and supporting the NUS-USI President to:

Invest in and reform local healthcare provision to:

  • Eliminate waiting lists for mental healthcare.
  • Ensure no disruption in care pathways when people turn 18 or move house and move across the UK.
  • Update regulations in gender-affirming healthcare to give GPs and nurse prescribers the powers to prescribe hormones.
  • Support and endorse trans organisations and activist groups in Northern Ireland.
  • Lobby the Government and NHS to invest more funding to GIC’s in Northern Ireland.
  • With the VP for Campaigns, to run a “Trans Healthcare Campaign” to all the MOs in Northern Ireland to highlight the issues facing the trans community regarding transgender healthcare.


2024 EQ     3         Transgender Healthcare (ROI) ***

Proposed by: Equality & Citizenship Working Group

Comhdháil Notes

Transgender healthcare and Gender Affirming care in Ireland was ranked the worst in the EU among the 27 member states in October 2022. This ranking was provided by Transgender Europe (TGEU), a group funded by the EU, who campaigns for the ‘complete depathologisation of trans and gender-diverse identities’. The ranking itself was based on the following six factors:

  • Type of trans healthcare and coverage available in the country.
  • Requirement for a psychiatric diagnosis before hormonal treatment or surgery.
  • Waiting time for first appointment with a trans healthcare professional.
  • Groups excluded or made to wait longer to access trans-specific healthcare.
  • Youngest age for puberty blockers.
  • Youngest age for hormones.

Each member state could score up to two points for each of the six criteria. Out of a potential twelve points, Ireland received just one.

Comhairle Notes with Concern

The National Gender Service (NGS) recently reported that they are “seeing people referred between three and three and a half years ago”. However, this statement is fundamentally misleading given the exponential growth of wait lists; statistical analysis of data accessed through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request indicates that those added to the list now may be waiting over 11 years to be seen.

Waiting times of this length, as evidenced by the myriad of surveys available, are increasing the risk of self-harm and suicide amongst an incredibly vulnerable population. Despite these abhorrent wait times, the NGS continues to advise GP’s not to prescribe Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), a life-saving intervention, to transgender and non-binary patients. This has, unsurprisingly, lead to increasing numbers of transgender people ‘self-medicating’ (taking HRT medications accessed through unregulated sources).

Comhairle Commends

There is significant work and advocacy being carried out by grassroots activist organizations in Ireland such as ‘Transgress the NGS’ and ‘Trans Harm Reduction’; the latter organization has pioneered the ‘GP Action Project’, organizes laboratory testing of HRT sources, provides injection supplies, provides a healthcare fund, and offers a peer support network.

Comhairle Mandates

USI to support and endorse organisations like ‘Transgress the NGS’, ‘Trans Harm Reduction’, ‘Trans & Intersex Pride Dublin’, ‘Trans Healthcare Action’ and ‘TENI’ i.e. publicise them and their events regularly on social media, encourage students to attend their events and direct actions, and ensure USI attendance (wherever possible) at these same events.

Comhairle further Mandates

USI to fully endorse and platform the recommendations of ‘Transgress the NGS’, ‘Trans Healthcare Action’, and ‘Trans Harm Reduction’ (e.g. in relation to GP’s prescribing HRT and blood tests to trans-identifying people), to platform their recommendations on the topic of Trans Harm Reduction, to fully denounce the NGS (National Gender Service), the HSE, and the 33rd Government of Ireland for its abject failure to adequately support Trans people, and to ultimately support the recommendations by TGEU & WPATH.

Comhairle further Mandates

The VP for Equality & Citizenship, in conjunction with the VP for Welfare, to:

Collate/Source a list of best-practice recommendations for college-run health services in line with the demands of Transgress the NGS (i.e. an informed consent model) that can be easily communicated to local health services via each local MO.

Work directly and regularly with local MO Officers to educate college-run health services on the life-saving benefits of prescribing HRT and blood tests, the risks of not treating those who self-medicate, and legal protections in place.

Roll out a campaign & ‘handbook’ / shareable document, detailing information on ‘Trans Harm Reduction’, methodology of such, and areas where this can be improved via activism (e.g. such as platforming the GP Action Project).

Endorse, platform and promote the ‘GP Action Project’, run by Trans Healthcare Action in order to build a network of Trans-Friendly GP’s

Lobby all necessary parties (including but not limited to: Government / Minister for Health, Minister for Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, HSE, NGS) to overhaul the current trans healthcare model (centralised, pathology-based) in favour of the legislative and healthcare recommendations provided in TGEU’s (Transgender Europe’s) ‘Guidelines to Human Rights-Based Trans-Specific Healthcare, 2019’ and WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Healthcare) Standards of Care Version 8.

In conjunction with the VP for Campaigns, develop a comprehensive escalation plan (to be presented at the second National Council of the academic year (24/25), aimed at achieving point (4), which must include one targeted direct action (e.g. at Pink Training 24/25), before March 2025.


























2024 EQ     4         Pink Training **

Proposed by: TU Dublin Students’ Union

Comhdháil Notes:

Pink Training is an annual event run by USI that brings together members of the LGBTQIA+ Community and allies to empower, explore and educate. Pink Training has played a critical role in establishing a safe space for student activism and change. Furthermore, Pink Training has paved the way for hundreds of delegates each year, to experience a place like no other in Ireland; a space where they can truly be themselves.

Comhdháil Applauds:

The response of USI’s Pink Training event to critical issues of time that required strong student voices to shift narratives of the LGBTQIA+ community. This encompassed the promotion of safe sex, tackling the rise in HIV cases, promoting anti-bullying measures in schools, elevating Trans rights and campaigning for legislative change. This work and impact of Pink training has been imperative for the queer movement in Ireland in campaigning for social justice and equality for all members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Comhdháil Recognises:

Pink Training is organised by the VP for Equality and Citizenship each year and is a significant undertaking for the Officer. There is also currently a document in existence, drafted annually by the outgoing VP for Equality and Citizenship, that explains how the incoming VP for Equality and Citizenship should run Pink Training. However, there is no formal procedure in place that mandates the VP for Equality & Citizenship on how to select speakers for the event. This may potentially cause issues such as a lack of diversity amongst speakers and/or topics, as well as conscious or unconscious bias during the selection process.


Comhdháil Mandates:

The VP for Equality And Citizenship and Coiste Gnó to continue to organise the annual USI Pink Training. This event should continue to include sessions that tackle nuanced LGBTQIA+ perspectives such as race, body positivity, disability, drug harm reduction, asexuality and other extended topics deemed relevant. The topics should be explored in a way that isn’t seen as ‘tokenistic’ or simply ‘101’ sessions.

Comhdháil further Mandates:

The VP for Equality and Citizenship and any other Coiste Gnó member involved in the organising of Pink Training to continue to produce an annual Event Planning Document after the training each year, within three months of the Training, and pass it over to the incoming VP for Equality and Citizenship each year.

Comhdháil further Mandates:

The VP for Equality & Citizenship to establish a formal procedure by which they select speakers for the annual Pink Training event. This procedure must include a standardised application process (i.e. whereby all potential speakers fill out a form requesting to deliver a talk(s) at the event), followed by a formal panel who review and select applicants from these applications. This panel must consist of the VP for Equality & Citizenship, the USI President, and three student-members that are voted for annually at National Council. Selected speakers shall be limited to a maximum of two different talks, in order to ensure a diversity of speakers.


This motion therefore repeals 2022 EQ 5: Pink Training


2024 EQ     5         Motion in Support of Sex Workers and Engagement with the National Women’s Council

Proposed by Comhaltas na Mac Léinn, Ollscoil Na Gaillimhe

Comhdháil notes

Sex work is defined as the sale of any sexual services, performances, or products for material compensation, including online sex work and pornography.

Comhdháil further notes

The phrase ‘decriminalization of sex work’ has been politically coopted by individuals, such as the National Women’s Council, who believe that the Nordic model is the only way to support sex workers. Under the Nordic model, sex buyers are criminalized while sex workers are decriminalized, however, additional working supports such as hiring security, accountants or drivers remains illegal. Worryingly, it is also illegal under the Nordic Model for two or more sex workers to live together, as under the Nordic Model this constitutes a brothel, and allows landlords to evict tenants should they discover that the tenant is engaging in sex work. Many individual sex workers and sex work organisations, such as Sex Workers Alliance Ireland, have gone on record to say that the Nordic model has been created under the false pretence that all sex work is abuse and always leads to sex trafficking and exploitation, without the model acknowledging that consensual sex work exists. They confirm however, that prohibitions, like the one of the Nordic model, and stigmatization are the biggest problems for sex workers, which do cause real harm. It was also reported on the 19/02/2024 that the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner agreed with sex-worker-led organisations that the decriminalisation of sex work will improve outcomes for sex workers. The Sex Workers Alliance Ireland undertook peer research of the Criminal Law Sexual Offences Act which brought the Nordic model to Ireland in 2017. Their most important findings are listed below:

This law has not prevented people from engaging in sex work.

It has negatively impacted safety measures making survival more perilous.

Instead of making workers safer it has made sex work much more dangerous and decreased faith and trust in Garda amongst workers. Crime against sex workers has increased significantly under this law.

This law has failed to reduce numbers of clients but instead it has worsened behaviour of clients toward sex workers.

Sex workers have lost bargaining power and are therefore seeing clients they might have previously refused to see and engaging in acts they might not have previously considered.

Existing supports for workers are severely lacking and tend to be focused on workers that are actively trying to exit sex work.

Comhdháil further notes

That a meeting was held with the National Women’s Council, SERP, Ruhuma and the National Immigration Council on the 23/1/2024 in the National Women’s Council offices in Dublin. This was attended by USI Officers, VP Academic Affairs, VP Equality and Citizenship and VP Welfare, as well as officers from MO’s.

From this meeting, it was clear that the National Women’s Council pro-Nordic Model stance still holds strong, and can only be changed through passing a mandate at their Annual General Meeting in June.

Comhdháil mandates

The USI Coiste Gnó shall retain an anti-Nordic model policy and that the VP Welfare and VP Equality and Citizenship attempt to engage further with the National Women’s Council, through meetings, workshops and communications.

Comhdháil also mandates

That USI bring an anti-Nordic mandate to the National Women’s Council 2024 AGM. Should this motion fall USI Coiste Gnó will consider disaffiliating from the National Women’s Council, exiting before the next affiliation payment.


Legalisation of Sex Work and Support of Sex Workers

Citizenship Motions

2024 CZN  1         Extra-Curricular Activities Engagement *

Proposed by DCU Students’ Union

Comhdháil Notes

That engaging in extracurricular activities in leadership positions and/or attending events and activities run by Students’ Unions, Clubs and Societies and Volunteering organisations can provide students with an improved student experience at university.

Comhdháil Further Notes

That engaging in extracurricular activities can come with hidden costs for students, and sometimes these costs can be a deterrence for students to engage in activities outside the classroom.

Comhdháil Believes

That as an organisation we should be pushing to increase participation in student activities, and reduce any barriers to students engaging in activities.

Comhdháil Recognises

That the level of financial support given to students to engage in extracurricular activities varies in each Member Organisation of USI.

Comhdháil Mandates

That the USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship along with the USI Vice President for Welfare conduct a research activity on assessing what financial barriers are in place for students to engage, including but not limited to; Clubs and Societies activities, Union activities; and volunteering opportunities in each Institution.

Comhdháil Further Mandates

That the USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship along with the USI Vice President for Welfare using their findings conducts a report on their findings and suggestions on removing barriers for student engagement, and present their findings to the relevant semi-state and state bodies in the lead up to and for inclusion in Budget 2025.


Proposed by Maynooth Students’ Union

Remove all of clause “Comhdháil Further Mandates:”

Replace with:

“Comhdháil Further Mandates:

That the USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship along with the USI Vice President for Welfare
using their findings conducts a report on their findings and suggestions on removing barriers for
student engagement, and present their findings to the Comhairle Náisiúnta after the report is finished and to the next Comhdháil after to be used for both local and national lobbying of HEIs, state and semi-state bodies”


2024 CZN  2         Reckonable Residency Reform *

Proposed by: Equality & Citizenship Working Group

Comhdháil Notes:

Students and researchers attending Irish HEIs who are citizens of nations outside the EEA face many obstacles to remaining in Ireland after programme completion.

Comhdháil Further Notes:

Most non-EEA citizens pursuing higher education in Ireland are forced to maintain Stamp 2 (student) visas for the duration of their programmes, which restrict many rights while residing in the State.

Comhdháil Notes with Concern:

Stamp 2 visas do not count towards reckonable residency, which is used to determine eligibility for Irish long-term residency and/or citizenship.

Comhdháil Mandates:

The VP for Equality & Citizenship and VP for Academic Affairs to lobby the Department for Justice for Stamp 2 visas to count toward reckonable residency for the purposes of legally remaining and contributing to Irish communities long-term.


2024 CZN  3         Election Campaigns *

Proposed by Dublin Region Working Group

Comhdháil notes

Local, European, and general elections are an integral part of lobbying for change and on issues that directly affect students.

Comhdháil also notes

The USI have an opportunity during these times to talk to parties and to ensure students are mentioned in every manifesto and program for government.

Comhdháil therefore mandates

The VP for Campaigns, in conjunction with the USI President, to write a Student Manifesto to highlight USI’s key demands from political parties.

Comhdháil also mandates

The VP for Campaigns, in conjunction with the USI President, to write a Student Guide to Elections which will inform the general student body on the election relevant to student issues and interests.

Repeals 15 CZN 7: General Election Campaign & 09 NA 4


2024 CZN 4          BusConnects and the NTA *

Proposed by the Dublin Working Group


Comhdháil Notes

The rollout of the BusConnects by the NTA (National Transport Authority) is a welcome change in the way public transport is operated, offering increased 24hr services, and increased connectivity between campuses. BusConnects impacts most higher education institutions in Dublin, and may affect other cities in Ireland in the future.

Comhdháil Further Notes

There have been significant delays in the rollout of the redesigned routes, in particular of the E-Spine that would connect multiple campuses across Dublin. The delays of these routes, and the removal of previous routes as part of the phased rollout, has a serious impact on commuting students and their commutes to their HEI, as well as travel between campuses of some institutions.

Comhdháil Mandates

The USI Coiste Gnó to endeavour to obtain a place on the relevant decision-making bodies within the NTA.

Comhdháil Further Mandates

The USI Coiste Gnó, in particular the regional officers, to lobby the NTA to involve the student perspective and voice on these rollouts and to make sure considerations are taken that no area is forgotten.

Comhdháil Further Mandates

The Coiste Gnó to produce information on any new route introduced by the NTA that impact an MO campus to inform students of the changes and how it may affect students.

Comhdháil Also Mandates

The Coiste Gnó to report back at every second Comhairle Náisiúnta on updates surrounding public transport.

2024 CZN  5         Non-EEA Residency Permit Reform

Proposed by: Equality & Citizenship Working Group

Comhdháil Notes:

Students and researchers attending Irish HEIs who are citizens of nations outside the EEA face many obstacles to their legal status over the course of their programmes, particularly those of greater than one year in duration.

Comhdháil Further Notes:

Non-EEA USI members enrolled in multi-year programmes are required to attend annual interviews with An Garda Siochana to prove they are persisting through such programmes as originally intended, as well as provide proofs of residency, financing, and private insurance to varying extents.

Comhdháil Notes with Concern:

The cost to renew residency permits is €300 per annum, independent of the other financial burdens required per individual; immigration interviews are continually backlogged and difficult to obtain; and County Dublin allows for online permit renewals.

Comhdháil Mandates:

The VP for Equality & Citizenship, VP for Academic Affairs, and VP for Postgraduate Affairs to lobby the Government (such as the Department of Justice and any other relevant party) and advocate for:

1.) Online residency permit renewals available nationwide.

2.) Reduction of permit fees.

3.) Abolition of the annual renewal requirement for those enrolled in multi-year programmes.