Members of the Union of Students Ireland claim a Sligo County Councillor used a recent Student’s Union event in IT Sligo as a photo opportunity.

The accusation was made against Fine Gael Councillor and General Election candidate for Sligo/Leitrim Thomas Walsh, who attended the USI national council meeting at the weekend.

SU members were raising their concerns with the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor when Cllr Walsh was accused of using the event as a ‘photo op’ by USI representatives.

The Deputy and Vice President for campaigns at the USI, Michelle Byrnes, took to twitter, claiming Cllr Walsh had ‘hopped in a photo full of SU officers and dashed off.’

She also revealed that members of the SU, who corresponded to Cllr Walsh on twitter, were blocked and that their Facebook comments were removed from under the photo of the Sligo County Councillor with SU representatives.

One of those blocked was the President of Sligo IT’s Students Union, Mayo native Laura Muldoon.

In a statement to Midwest Radio, Cllr Walsh says that the event was a private engagement between the USI and the Minister of State for Higher Education.

The Fine Gael General Election candidate says that he was specifically there to greet the Minister.

He concluded saying that he had corresponded with the SU President of IT Sligo to arrange a meeting with the SU to voice their concerns, but he has yet to receive a reply.

On twitter last night the Sligo IT President said that she wanted to engage with each GE candidate in Sligo and the surrounding counties to see how they can represent the young people of their counties, especially in relation to accessing Higher Education, underfunding of SUSI, Technological University’s in the region, as well as social issues.

Ms Muldoon called on potential candidates from across the west and border region, who would like to hear what students on the ground have to say, to contact her.

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