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USI to lobby for abortion services
Irish Examiner 22/03/2006
by Gordon Deegan

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has narrowly voted in favour of reaffirming its call for the Government to provide greater access to abortion services for women within the State.

At the USI's 2006 annual congress in Ennis, Co. Clare, delegates voted yesterday 73-65 in favour of the USI to lobby the Government and other relevant bodies to develop greater access to abortion services.

The move reaffirms a five-year policy introduce by USI in 2001. After yesterday's outcome, newly elected USI welfare officer Kelly Mackey said: “The USI will lobby all the political parties to ensure that abortion is one of the main issues at the next general election.

“Over 6000 Irish women go to the UK every year to have abortions and we cannot continue to shirk our responsibilities.

“Any new government must introduce a safe and legal abortion service.”

Later yesterday the new president of the USI said the union had lost its focus and vision in recent years by straying away from its core issues of education and welfare.

After being elected unopposed for the post, Bundoran man Colm Hamrogue (24) added, however, that the USI “has now turned the corner and is becoming the organisation we once were”.

Currently the president of Sligo Institute of Technology SU, Mr Hamrogue said he intended to make the USI relevant to every student when he takes up his post in July.

Mr Hamrogue also said “third-level institutions need to look at the standard of lecturers that are lecturing in our colleges”.

“We all know that there are some people that are gifted and talented at lecturing and we need to make sure that that is the case applied across the board,” he said.

“We need to raise the standard and ensure that everyone meets that standard.”

At congress yesterday, delegated also called for resources to support the establishment of non-denominational spiritual or prayer rooms in every college.