Candidate for the position of Vice President for Academic Life

Image for Niall Martyn

Niall Martyn

VOTE Niall Martyn for 

Student Union Vice-President

Make college the best experience of your life 


APB –  a manifesto for action


Three pillars for action

  • A - Amplify the student voice
  • P – Promote a positive balanced student life
  • B - Break down the financial barriers


A – Amplify the student Voice: Our class reps are one of the most critical elements of the student union – they represent the student voice.   It can be a daunting role and requires some skill to translate your feedback and concerns into positive action.   

  • Provide greater support and training for class reps:   I commit to spending more time meeting with the class reps, developing them, and ensuring your voices are heard and acted upon.

P – Promote a positive balanced student life: As students, we must balance a lot of different aspects of life; our academic life, our social life and for most of us a work life.  Each brings different challenges and stresses and without balance both mental and physical wellbeing is impact.  As the saying goes ‘Your Health is your Wealth’ so in my manifesto, I propose several actions to help promote a positive balanced student life.   These strategies include:

  • Campaigns:   I will work closely with the VP for well-being and engagement to design continuous campaigns throughout the year.   For college to be the best years of your life, after so much time studying remotely and missing out on community and connection at college, we need to learn and re-learn many coping skills.   These campaigns will provide strategies for physical and mental wellness in a fun and engaging way ensuring you can balance the various aspects of student life and are mentally and physically prepared throughout your college experience but especially when exam season comes around.


  • Flexible Library Hours:  Every student has different demands on their time – lectures, assignments, the need to work, the need to invest in their personal wellness through sport and other extra-curricular activities.    In this time of significant financial pressure, a lot of students rely on the library as a warm, safe, and suitable location for study and completing assignments.  Based on my personal experience and research through with other students, the library hours at ATU Sligo are very restrictive and do not work for many student schedules.   I will lobby the University for more flexible library hours with earlier opening and later closure during the college week.   This will give students more freedom and flexibility to complete assignments in a quiet comfortable setting.


  • De-stress Exams:  During my time at IT Sligo and now ATU Sligo, I’ve met many students who have not completed in-house exams since their junior certificate, and they are really stressed and struggling to prepare and approach exams.  


  • I would like to implement study and exam preparations seminars throughout the academic year.    This will provide students with the necessary supports and provide the best chance of success while reducing the inevitable stress as we face exams. 


  • I would also like to revisit the time of exams and ensure the student voice is heard.  Sligo IT ran a trial to run Winter Exams before the Christmas holiday break.   The results of this trial were not published, and the trial was abandoned with the establishment of ATU.   There are many opinions on timing of exams  but I would like to re-open this conversation with the University and potentially take the matter to a student vote.


B – Break down the financial barriers:  I will focus on two focus areas to reduce financial stress on students and their families.

  • Abolish the student contribution fee:  I commit to working at a local and national level with the USI lobbying the government to abolish the student contribution fee.   These fees are widening the social divide and preventing many talented students from continuing their education.   This needs immediate action – everyone has the right to an education, and I will work with the USI to influence government on more progressive funding for third level education.  One potential source if the government were open to changing terms of reference is the national training fund.   Every employer in Ireland pays a 1% levy into the national training fund as part of the employer PRSI contribution – this levy is used to provide jobseekers with skills.   There is currently a surplus of One Billion in this fund and it continues to grow so perhaps there is an opportunity to divert a fraction of this fund surplus to fund the student contribution fee.


  • Susi reform:  As a recipient myself, I would not be attending college without this financial aid.   At a national level, I will engage with the USI campaign to reform susi – the income thresholds are too low and students are penalized for working to support themselves during the college year and over the summer. On a more practical level and to have immediate impact, many students struggle with the application process so I would like to create a short walk-through video explaining the different stages of the application process to simplify susi.