Daniel Deery is a second year Politics and Economics student running to be the NUS delegate for the Stirling Student Union.
Although the youngest of all the NUS candidates, Deery has an abundance of experience. He has chaired the Labour Society and held numerous committee positions on the Debating Society, Cooperative Society as well a founding member of The Stirling Students Tenants Union. Daniel hopes to bring his passionate and committed drive to the role. Daniel sat down with Brig during the campaign.
What does this position involve and why are you running for NUS delegate?
“Being an NUS delegate means representing Stirling students at the National Union of Students. The NUS is a really good organisation but can be unrepresentative in many ways. I’m going for it to make it more democratic and more accountable; that’s the crux of my campaign.”
Talk us through the four main points of your campaign: Mental health, democracy and minority and worker’s Rights.
“Obviously, my campaign slogan is Deery for Democracy. The main thing I want to push forward for is that extra representation.
“The main policy I’m pushing for is really standard for Stirling NUS delegates which is the one member one vote. So, I want to see our sabbaticals at NUS be elected directly by the student body across the country.
“Not just a minority of delegates in conferences from the other side of the country. I think that would strengthen our voice and provide a much better reach of opinion.”
You’re only second year. What makes you stand out as a candidate?
“I’m a second year, but I’ve been here for three years as I’m resitting a year. I’ve been on quite a lot of committees.
“On top of that, outside of university I have a lot of experience. I’ve served in quite a lot of positions within the Labour party being branch chair of the Foil Labour Party back home in Ireland.
“Additionally, I have served on Scottish Labour’s committee. I feel like although I don’t have too much experience within the union, I have a lot of experience representing people from different backgrounds being a liberation officer. I think I can take that experience and push for what I want to see the organistation become.
How do you feel about going against two incumbents?
“It’s been a fun campaign. Obviously Josh has been a NUS delegate quite a few times. He’s also a sabbatical officer. Lily was a national NUS delegate last year, on top of that Hope Murray’s also a union officer.
“They definitely have more experience on the union side of things which can be a bit intimidating. At the end of the day if we are really serious about changing NUS, which a lot of the candidates are talking about, I think we need to send new people as well. I stand out because I can bring an outsider perspective.
Mental health is a massive issue in Stirling at the minute, if you get elected how would you go about putting that policy into practice?
“Obviously, the mental health crisis is affecting Stirling particularly badly. I think every Stirling student has experienced it themselves or knows somebody who has.
“The provisions within the university aren’t great. NUS have been very good at attempting to tackle mental health, but I want to make it one of their main priorities.
“At the end of the day we are here to study and everybody should have a safe and accessible space at university to do that. If you are worrying about mental health and you don’t have the adequate support, I think that’s not going to be very condusive to you being able to complete your studies here.
“I’m re-sitting the year because of my mental health last year so I have experience on a personal level.”
Josh Muirhead and you have similar manifestos, what are the main difference between you?
“It’s so important to have new people coming into the NUS, it’s a similar reason to why we set up the tenant’s union. We wanted it to be independent from the union.
“The union does great stuff and we think they are brilliant but sometimes you need that extra push from a different direction, that’s really why I would encourage people to vote for me over Josh.
“Cian Ireland the housing officer and me as an executive committee member of the tenant’s union were there when the 16-year-old was evicted last week.
“It’s the sort of thing that shouldn’t be happening within our student union, it’s the sort of thing I have fought for within our student union even if it’s not the most popular idea, like the last union general meeting, I want to push the same spirit towards the NUS.
“I’ll stand up for what I think is right and what students want fought for even when it’s not the popular decision.”