Former USI president Laura Harmon to run for Seanad

Contender played prominent role in campaign for Yes vote in marriage referendum

Seanad hopeful Laura Harmon:  “I want to be a Senator who represents the views of modern Ireland.” Photograph: Conor McCabe

Seanad hopeful Laura Harmon: “I want to be a Senator who represents the views of modern Ireland.” Photograph: Conor McCabe

 

Former Union of Students in Ireland (USI) president Laura Harmon has announced that she will stand as an Independent candidate for the National University of Ireland panel in the upcoming Seanad Éireann elections.

Harmon (29) played a prominent part in the campaign for a Yes vote in last year’s Marriage Equality referendum, when the USI ran a successful voter registration campaign marked by some 30,000 students adding their names to the electoral register.

“I want to be a Senator who represents the views of modern Ireland,” said Ms Harmon. She said the Seanad “desperately needs reform” and will campaign to extend the Seanad vote to the entire electorate.

“I believe it is now more important than ever before that young people, especially women, get involved in politics to help improve our democracy and to campaign for progressive change in our country.”

Political reform

She says that she is encouraged that one in five incoming TDs to the 32nd Dáil are women.

“During my time in USI, I came to see how archaic our voter registration system is and how many people are often disenfranchised as a result. I want to highlight the need for universal voting rights for all of our citizens and serious political reform of our parliament to make it more effective and relevant.”

Ms Harmon says that she will also campaign for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, for investment in education and the arts and culture.

No woman has been elected on the NUI panel since Gemma Hussey in 1981.

The last day for candidates to get nominations to the returning officers is Thursday, March 3rd.