Lapsing Policy Prioritised for Extension 2024

  • USI policy lasts three years, after which it lapses unless renewed by Comhdháil.
  • Policies are prioritised for debate by members of the Comhairle Náisiúnta (This completed 13/03/2024)
  • Each Member Organisation receives 10 priority votes. One vote may be cast per policy the MO wishes to retain.
  • Policies receiving no votes for debate will fall and no longer be the policy of USI at the commencement of Comhdháil.
  • Policies receiving votes have been prioritised and ranked for debate according to the number of priority votes they received.  This ensures the policy considered the most valuable has the best chance of being debated.
  • A guillotine will fall at the conclusion of the first session of Comhdháil. This will conclude debate on Policy Due To Expire.

Table of Contents

Prioritised List


2018 AA 15 : The Marketisation of Third-Level Education

Proposed by the Vice President Academic Affairs

Congress notes

Efforts by Governments and Higher Education Institutions, both in Ireland and internationally, to create a competitive environment in third-level education, especially in Higher Education.

Congress further notes

That this effort to marketise education damages the ethos of education as a social and public good.

Congress recognises

The USI’s efforts to campaign and lobby for publicly funded education and protect education as a public good.

Congress believes

That in Ireland the student movement is not proactively discussing or raising the dangers of marketisation and commodification of education and must be better equipped to do so.

Congress mandates

The Vice President Academic Affairs to develop clear policy guidance on the negative consequences of marketisation both locally and nationally, and to work with the Vice President Campaigns to create toolkits for Member Organisations to recognise and campaign against marketisation in their institutions.


2021 EQ NC 2: Accessibility to Higher Education for Students with Disabilities

Proposed by the USI VP Postgraduate Affairs

Congress Notes

The Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD) conducted a survey in 2017/2018 which notes that 14, 720 students with disabilities enrolled in third-level education, representing 6.2 percent of the total student population. This notes a 17% increase in one year. USI applauds this increase yet notes that access to third level education is still very restrictive, and students with disabilities still form a minority within the overall student body.

Congress Notes

The need for an in-depth study on numbers of students with disabilities accessing third level education in Ireland, and the Institutional barriers faced by students with disabilities.

Congress Further Notes

That Students’ Unions can play a vital role in the encouragement of more students with disabilities enrolling in third level education, highlighting areas of Institutional inaccessibility on campuses and lobbying their Institutions towards greater support of students with disabilities.

Congress Mandates

The Vice President for Equality & Citizenship to work with MO’s to highlight the need for, and resources required to greater enhance the numbers of students with disabilities accessing third level education in Ireland.

Congress Further Mandates

The Vice President for Equality and Citizenship and the Vice President for Postgraduate Affairs to lobby the government for greater investment in disability services across existing Higher Education Institutions on behalf of students with disabilities at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.



2021 AA 1: Hidden Course Costs

Proposed by the Academic Affairs Working Group

Comhdháil Notes

That many students are required to pay additional costs, on top of the student contribution/tuition fee. This includes but is not limited to materials fees, field trips, uniform costs and medical costs. These can range from 10s to 1000s of euros/pounds.

Comhdháil Further Notes

In many cases, there is limited information provided to students in advance of enrolment on the additional costs that they will be required to pay throughout the course of their studies.

Comhdháil Believes

Hidden additional costs serve as a further reminder of the marketized Higher Education system that students across the island are being subjected to and may further inhibit students from progressing in their education particularly where these costs are mandatory.

Comhdháil Mandates

The USI President and Vice President for Academic Affairs to lobby key stakeholders, including the Higher Education Commission when formed to require institutions to provide full transparency of all additional costs within their colleges to prospective students.

Comhdháil Further Mandates

The USI Executive Team to support MOs in raising awareness of additional course costs within their own colleges, and in lobbying for the reduction or abolishment of all additional costs. The USI Executive Team to support NUS-USI members in ensuring that colleges in the North continue to comply with CMA requirements around publication of additional costs.

2021 AA 4: Lecture Recording

Proposed by TU Dublin SU

Comhdháil Notes

Not all HEI’s have a policy in place for the recording of online lectures.

Comhdháil further notes

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many difficulties for students when learning remotely. Lecturers refusing to record lecturers has caused additional difficulties for students experiencing internet connectivity issues and outages.

Comhdháil regrets

That students have been put at a severe disadvantage academically this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and under additional stress as a result

Comhdháil further regrets

These disadvantages are hindering the progression of students’ education already without lecturers refusing to record lecturers refusing to record lecturers and making their education even more challenging.

Comhdháil mandates

The Vice President for Academic Affairs to provide support and resources to MOs who are looking to lobby to implement lecture recording in their institute.

2021 AA 6: Position on Proctoring

Proposed by the USI Vice President for Academic Affairs

Comhdháil Notes

That many students have been forced to complete assessments, including examinations, online due to the pandemic that the world is facing. Due to these assessments having to take place virtually, the standard invigilation procedures can not take place.

Comhdháil Further Notes

Academic Integrity Procedures must still be followed to ensure that all assessments are taken fairly and that these assessments are an accurate reflection of the work that all students have put in.

Comhdháil Also Notes

HEIs are currently looking into getting all online examinations fully proctored through different proctoring software like Examity etc.

Comhdháil Believes

There are a range of concerns related to proctoring of assessment including but not limited to privacy, mental health and accessibility associated with the use of proctoring software.

Comhdháil Mandates

The Vice President for Academic Affairs, working through the National Academic Integrity Network to investigate proctoring and produce a paper outlining uses of Proctoring, how it relates to Academic Integrity and the impact it has on the student experience regarding assessment.

Comhdháil Further Mandates

The Vice President for Academic Affairs and Regional Vice Presidents to work with MOs to compile a picture of current uses of proctoring in assessment and to use this, and the work of the National Academic Integrity Network to inform the development of position papers and/or statements in relation to proctoring.

2021 AA 14: Subsidies on Textbooks

Proposed by NUI Galway Students’ Union

Comhdháil Notes

Students year in year out are forced to buy textbooks as part of their core reading lists. These are generally only relevant to the student for one year. These books can range in price from €10 anywhere up to the €100 mark. This adds an extra barrier for students to access education as it is another major expense on top of accommodation and equipment. Some of these books cannot be bought second hand due to a specific code on the inside which is used for course work and assignments which means it cannot be stocked in the library. These libraries already have limited resources.   This year students have been forced to do their entire course predominantly online with limited access to their library, study spaces and other areas on their campus which they are paying for through their tuition and levy. The libraries across the country are doing all they can in terms of providing a click & collect and scan & deliver service but for some students, this is insufficient due to the lack of books and the slow turnover. During this pandemic, there has also been a limit in students purchasing second-hand books which normally reduces the costs of books. Students who cannot afford these books are at a disadvantage in their degree to those who can afford it.

Comhdháil Commends

All the work that is being done by the USI and MO’s on the “Education for All campaign”. In the year that’s in it, this is one of the campaigns that has been pushed the most and engaged students.

Comhdháil Mandates

The USI Academic Affairs Officer to work with MO’s to lobby the Department of Higher Education, Innovation and Science to secure subsidies for students who are paying more than €50 a year for books.

Comhdháil Further Mandates

USI Academic Affairs officer to lobby for more Open Educational Resources and e-books to be used on reading lists rather than formal textbooks


2021 AA 17: Back to Education Allowance Reform Strategy Paper

Proposed by the USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship

Comhdháil notes
That the Back to Education Allowance Reform Strategy Paper (2018 AA 2) is due to expire at Comhdháil 2021.

Comhdháil believes

That the commitment to review the BTEA in the Programme for Government allows for an opportunity to address the current shortfalls within the current BTEA. Given the current economic climate the BTEA will allow for greater support to students returning to education.


Comhdháil Adopts

The proposed Amended Back to Education Allowance Reform Strategy Paper



2021 WEL 4: Regional Food Banks

Proposed by the Southern Region Working Group

Congress recognises

That financial hardship is an issue many students experience during third level education. Students often work multiple part-time jobs, commute from their family homes to campus to save on rent costs or skip meals to save money. Eating healthily and having access to sufficient meals is extremely important for a person’s wellbeing.

Congress notes

Setting up a Food Bank requires you to rely on donations of products. Many organisations, including College Canteens, may throw out food at the end of the day for a number of reasons that include; being mislabeled, overproduced, are test-market items and/or products with short code dates. Most of the time this food is perfect to consume.

Congress further notes

Some charities currently work with supermarkets to collect foods and give them out to those in need. With the current economic situation, and the lack of funding for third level students, students’ who are struggling financially may find Food Banks beneficial to them.

Congress mandates

The Regional Vice Presidents to investigate and produce a guidance document to assist MO’s in setting up Food Banks. This guide should include information on external organisations that may be of help to MO’s.

Congress further mandates

This guidance document should be discussed with local MO’s when it is being produced to get input on what is currently in place in MO’s. This should be updated and produced no later than October each year.



2018 EQ 1: Gender Recognition of Students

Proposed by Institute of Art, Design and Technology Students’ Union

Congress notes

Trans and non-binary students have difficulty changing their name and gender on college records such as exam results, roll, student cards etc.

Congress recognises

The considerable distress that not being able to be recognised as who they are can have on trans and non binary students.

Congress Notes

The work ongoing of the Gender Recognition Act Review Committee examining the Gender Recognition Act 2015 due to be complete by Summer 2018.

Congress applauds

The Vice President for Equality & Citizenship recent submission to the Gender Recognition Act Review and the current work being done in MOs on Gender Identity and Expression Policies.

Congress therefore mandates

The Vice President for Equality & Citizenship to campaign for a system-wide agreement from CAO level upwards, regarding the facilitation of name-changes as well as the inclusion of non-binary identities.

Congress further mandates

The Vice President for Equality & Citizenship to lobby the HEA (Higher Education Authority) to set up a working group with the USI, THEA (Technological Higher Education Association), the IUA (Irish Universities Association) and the Department of Education to identify a robust and agreed system-level framework, so that applications for name- changes while the student is attending their third level institution is met with a consistent response regardless of institution, rather than a case-by-case, ad-hoc, and discretionary reaction that often depends on the staff member the student speaks to.

2018 EQ 5: Universal Design for Learning

Proposed by National University of Ireland, Galway Students’ Union

Congress notes

Learning materials used in lectures, tutorials, and for study are frequently inaccessible to students with different requirements.

Congress recognises

The universal design for learning approach campaigns for more user friendly, varied and accessible materials for students who have a physical/ hidden disability, mental health condition, student parents, and students whose first language is not English.

Congress mandates

The VP for Equality and Citizenship and the VP for Academic Affairs to work with relevant organisations to support the implementation of Universal Design for Learning wherever possible.

12 CZN 2: Students in the Workplace

Congress notes

That in order to help fund their education, many students take up a part time job.

Congress welcomes

The decision to reverse the cut to the minimum wage, which targeted students in part time jobs who are already struggling financially.

Congress notes with concern

That in many of these jobs, trade union membership is absent and in some places discouraged. Furthermore, many students are unaware of what their rights and entitlements are in relation to time off, payment and hours.

Congress mandates

The Vice President of Equality and Citizenship to better inform students of their rights in the workplace by providing information that is set out by the LRC, NERA and Employment legislation. This mandate should be completed within the first quarter of the Academic Year.






2021 NA NC 1: Support for the Gaeltacht Regions

Proposed by: USI Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge

Aithníonn An Chomhdháil

An luach a bhaineann leis na ceantair Ghaeltachta agus a thábhachtaí is atá siad do thodhchaí na Gaeilge, agus do stair agus cultúr an oileáin seo.

Anuas Ar Sin, Aithníonn An Chomhdháil

Go bhfuil géarchéim ag tarlúint anois sna ceantair Ghaeltachta ó thaobh cúrsaí teanga de agus gmbíonn fadhbanna ollmhóra ag daoine óga fanacht sa Ghaeltacht mar gheall nach bhfuil deiseanna fostaíochta ann dóibh nuair a chríochnaíonn siad sa Choláiste.

Creideann An Chomhdháil

Go bhfuil sé ríthabhachtach na Gaeltachtaí a chaomhnú agus gur ceart don Rialtas maoiniú sásúil a dhéanamh ar na ceantair seo ionas go mbeidh siad fós anseo i gceann deich nó fiche bliana.

Go dtacóidh AMLÉ, trí obair an Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge, le feachtas a bhaineann le caomhnú na Gaeltachta agus go gcuideoidh an LU Gaeilge le heagraíochtaí eile, stocaireacht a dhéanamh ar an Rialtas dul i ngleic leis an ngéarchéim sa Ghaeltacht.

Anuas Air Sin, Sanordaíonn An Chomhdháil

Go n-eagróidh an Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge grúpaí fócais ar a laghad faoi dhó in aghaidh an tseamastair, le mic léinn ó na ceantair Ghaeltachta ar fad le plé a dhéanamh ar na fadhbanna is mó do dhaoine óga sa Ghaeltacht agus obair AMLÉ ar chaomhnú na Gaeltachta a stiúradh.


Comhdháil Notes

The value of Gaeltacht areas and their importance to the future of the Irish language, as well their importance in the history and culture of the Island.

Comhdháil Also Notes

That there is a language crisis happening in the Gaeltacht and that there are huge difficulties in keeping young people in Gaeltacht areas due to a lack of employment opportunities for them when they finish college.

Comhdháil Believes

That it is vital to preserve Gaeltacht areas and that the Government should provide adequate funding to these areas so that they are still in existence in ten- or twenty-years’ time.

Therefore, Comhdháil Mandates:

USI, through the work of the Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge, to support campaigns to preserve the Gaeltacht and to assist other Irish language organisations in lobbying the Government to tackle the ongoing crisis in the Gaeltacht.

Comhdháil Also Mandates:

The Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge to organise focus groups for students from all Gaeltacht areas, at least twice a semester, to discuss issues facing young people in the Gaeltacht and to shape USI’s work on supporting the Gaeltacht.

2021 NA NC 2: Support for Dying with Dignity

Proposed By TU Dublin Students’ Union

Congress Notes:

The Dying with Dignity Bill, is a bill in favour of introducing Assisted Dying in Ireland, which is a part of End of Life Care, often decisions made by those diagnosed with terminal illness or long term health implications that impact a person’s quality of life.

Congress Further Notes:

The current bill proposed is currently going through legislation at the time of this motion being written up. The bill aims to legislate for the safe and monitored access to End of Life Care which includes the Right to Die. The current bill includes the provisional necessity for an independent medical practitioner to assess the case and safeguard against abuse, coercion or gaslighting.

Congress Recognizes:

The historic court cases taken by those who have sought a constitutional right to die or furthered this discussion, such as the abhorrent handling of the Cervical Check Cancer Scandal, or those who have sought to overturn legislation such as Marie Fleming, Gail O’Rorke and countless others.

 Congress Believes:

That bodily autonomy is a basic human right, and bodily autonomy derives from the absolute sovereign authority to make decisions that is best for one’s self and that End of Life care is included in Bodily Autonomy and autonomy over one’s health, wellness and future.

Therefore, Congress Mandates:

The Vice-President for Equality and Citizenship in conjunction with the Executive Team to lobby in favour of the Right to Die and to actively support the Dying with Dignity Bill.

Congress Further Mandates:

The Vice-President for Welfare in conjunction with the Executive Team to work with lobbying groups who have an in-depth knowledge on End of Life Care that encompasses empathy, compassion and understanding.

2021 NA NC 3: De-Platforming and Rejecting Fascism

Proposed by TU Dublin Students’ Union

Congress Notes:

Fascism is a form of authoritarian ideology that focusing on power that uses forcible suppression of opposing views and opinions. It is a regressive and violent ideology that has seen an increase in reporting over the past years and now has now manifested into a full platform in 2020.

Congress Further Notes:

Fascism actively harms minority groups, progressive movements, and grassroots community equity campaigns by any means available, using the guise of political stances to protect itself from de-platforming and rejection from societal based values.

Congress Recognizes:

That students come from all walks of life, opinions, and beliefs. Political beliefs and alignments vary in all students and it is important to recognize and support all students in their access, progression, and completion of their education and/or progression to life-long learning.

Congress Believes:

That as a representative body we must ensure the protection of those who are most vulnerable in our society. Fascism actively aims to harm that core belief. We must ensure that access, progression and completion of education and its further progression into life-long learning must be safe from violence, oppression or hinderance, particularly from those with harmful, deceitful, or aggressive intent.

Congress Further Believes

That as a collective Union we should seek to include as many diverse opinions as possible, that does not actively harm, disrupt or de-platform the vulnerable, marginalized or oppressed in our society.

Therefore, Congress Mandates:

The President in conjunction with the Executive Team actively rejects and de-platforms forms of fascism and to further re-invest resources into protecting the most vulnerable and/or marginalized students in our society.

Congress Further Mandates:

The Vice-President for Campaigns in conjunction with the Executive Team and Presidents’ Working Group to engage in de-platforming actions such as counter-protests where safe, and to work with Organizations, Member Organizations and the relevant Executive Team officers to ensure training for officers in de-escalation, de-platforming and rejection of fascism is rolled out to all officers during key-training sessions.

2021 NA 1: Supporting Students in Direct Provision

Proposed by NCI Students’ Union

Congress Recognizes

That students in direct provision are at a greater disadvantage when it comes to educational, financial, and mental health supports. The current asylum-seeking process in Ireland needs to be dramatically modified and better resource the administration of the asylum process in Ireland in order to allow for a quicker asylum reception process. The last official statistics published by the RIA was in November 2018. The average length of stay in Direct Provision is 24 months, with some residents having spent up to 10 or 12 years living in these conditions.

Congress Notes

That a report in 2020 by Doras outlined that asylum seekers are five times more likely to develop mental health & psychiatric issues. International Protection applicants experience a disproportionately high rate of mental health difficulties. They are up to fifteen times more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder and five times more likely to be diagnosed with a psychiatric illness.

Congress further notes

USI does not directly represent second-level students as they are not in third-level education but must recognize the inequality faced by these students in direct provision.

Congress Therefore Mandates

The Vice President for Welfare to work with the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union and relevant mental health organizations to provide mental health support and resources to students in direct provision.

Congress further mandates

The Vice President for Equality and Citizenship to provide information resources to students looking to continue to third-level education. These resources should include institutes with sanctuary programs, mental health support services, and grants available to them.

2021 UO 10: Pre-Budget Submission

Proposed by the Presidents’ Working Group

Congress welcomes

The annual publication of the USI Pre-Budget Submission.

Congress believes

That this document is a useful lobbying tool that can be used throughout the year to lobby for increased investment but also legislative changes that are required.

Congress mandates

The USI President to ensure the publication of an annual pre-budget submission that includes budgetary asks and legislative asks so the document can be used throughout the year to support Students’ Unions when lobbying members of the Oireachtas.

2021 GAE 2: Cur Chun Cinn Na Gaeilge Sna Balleagraíochtaí // Promoting Irish In Member Organisations

Molta Ag An Leas-Uachtarán Don Ghaeilge

Aithníonn an Chomhdháil

Go bhfuil an-obair déanta ag na balleagraíochtaí a ghlac páirt sa scéim Bonn na Gaeilge leis an nGaeilge a chur chun cinn ina gcoláistí féin.

Aithníonn an Chomhdháil

Go bhfuil an-chuid deacrachtaí ag roinn balleagraíochtaí páirt a ghlacadh sa scéim, go háirithe na hAontais ó Thuadh, agus na hAontais bheaga nach bhfuil mórán acmhainní acu.

Creideann an Chomhdháil

Go bhfuil an-tábhacht le cur chun cinn na Gaeilge sna balleagraíochtaí agus gur cheart tuilleadh forbartha a dhéanamh ar an scéim seo le cuidiú le balleagraíochtaí a bheith níos dátheangaí.

Mar sin sainordaíonn an Chomhdháil

Go ndéanfaidh an Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge tuilleadh forbartha ar an mbonneagar seo in éineacht le heagraíochtaí Gaeilge ábhartha leis an scéim a leathnú agus deis a chur ar fáil do níos mó Aontas agus mic léinn a bheith páirteach ann. Ní mór deiseanna maoinithe a fhiosrú le heagraíochtaí ábhartha chun go mbeidh deis ag níos mó balleagraíochtaí páirt a ghlacadh.

Ina theannta sin, sainordaíonn an Chomhdháil

Go gcruthóidh an Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge pacáistí acmhainní do na balleagraíochtaí atá ag glacadh páirt sa scéim le treoireacha ar chonas spriocanna áirithe a chur i gcrích mar atá leagtha amach sa sceim, ionas go mbeidh siad in ann a bheith níos dátheangaí.

Aisghaireann 20 GAE 8


Congress Notes

That a lot of work has been done by member organisations who have taken part in the Bonn na Gaeilge scheme to promote Irish in their own colleges.

Congress also notes

That many member organisations have found it difficult to participate in the scheme, especially MOs in the North, and smaller MOs without many resources.

Congress believes

That the promotion of Irish within MOs is extremely important, and that further development should be made to the existing Bonn na Gaeilge scheme to help MOs become more bilingual.

Therefore, Congress mandates

The Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge to further develop the scheme with relevant Irish language organisations, to allow more MOs to participate in it fully. Funding opportunities with relevant bodies should also be researched in order to allow more MOs to engage with the scheme.

Congress also mandates

The Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge to create a resource pack with specific guidelines on how to complete certain actions as outlined in the scheme, so that they can become more bilingual.

Repeals 20 GAE 8