About the UCC Students’ Union

UCC Students’ Union is the chief representative body for students in UCC. UCCSU is a democratic organization run by 5 fulltime officers elected by the student body. The SU’s main functions are to provide academic assistance to students, to provide support to students in need, to lobby the University and the government on issues affecting students, and to provide entertainment on campus.

There are five officers working full time, the President, the Deputy President, the Education Officer, the Welfare Officer and the Communications/Commercial Officer. Each of these officers has responsibility for their own brief and work to provide the best possible service and representation to students.

The SU is located at 54 College Road, just behind the O’Rahilly Building, next to the common room.

The SU is established in accordance with the charter, statutes and regulations of the Governing Body of the college as the sole representative body for UCC students. Each student is automatically a member by virtue of a student levy.

The SU have a representative that sits on autonomous committees (the Media Executive, Societies Guild Executive and the Clubs Executive) that oversee the running nearly all of the extra curricular activities for students in UCC. The Student Council of the Union also acts as the Student Parliament for UCC, and represents students on a number of committees including UCC’s Governing Authority, Academic Council, and externally at national bodies such as the Union of Students’ in Ireland (USI).


The UCC Students’ Union was established in 1973, and replaced a body known as the Students’ Representative Council. While different years have seen their role in different ways, the core principle of the students’ union is to represent and support their members at every level within the university, and outside on at such levels as they deem necessary, and to ensure that a quality education and social experience is provided for them throughout their University life.

Current Union records date from 1938, and, while the exact establishment date is unclear, the ‘Students’ Representative Council’ (otherwise known in Irish as Comhairle Teachta na Mac Léinn CTM) was established around 1908, presumably in line with the 1908 Universities Act. In its early years, all officers served in a voluntary capacity. The first full-time officer of the Union came with the introduction of a paid President in 1940, and expanded over time to 4 full-time officers in 2004. The most recent addition to UCCSU’s full-time officers is a 5th sabbat, a Commercial & Communications Officer.

The Union’s Centenary in June 2008, was marked with a visit from the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe who joined President Kris McElhinney and officers for the opening of the new Union offices at 54 College Road, and launch of their Students’ Union Common room project which was to be opened on the site of the old stables in September 2008.


Union Publication records date from 1972 and include Students’ Union Handbooks, the copies of the Union paper, and other Union publications including the current incarnation the UCC Express. (Over the years, the paper has been known variously as: ‘Aire’, ‘The Gazette’, ‘The University Examiner’, ‘The Campus Chronicle’, and ‘The University Xpress’).  As well as the UCC Express, the union publishes Motley Magazine.

Organisation & Services

There are currently six full-time sabbatical officers (President, Campaigns Officer/Deputy President, VP Education, VP Welfare, VP Commercial & Communications & Societies President) combined with a number of voluntary or non-sabbatical positions, which are elected each year by the students.

The Union employs 3 other full-time members of staff directly (an administrator, a secretary, and an entertainments/common room manager) and a number of part-time student help. The Union also provides other services to students – jobs portal, the Nitebus service, education advice & grinds, welfare advice & free condoms, a second-hand bookshop, etc.

The Union holds 2 directorships on Student Facilities & Services Ltd. (SFS Ltd.) as well as the Chair of its Board of Management. The President is also a director of Maradyke Arena Ltd. and UCC Accommodation Ltd.

The Students’ Union has 2 publications; a fortnightly newspaper, The UCC Express, and a monthly magazine, Motley. While the Express and Motley are editorially independent the management and support functions are carried out by the Media Executive.

Past Officers

A breakdown of previous officers of the Students’ Union is available here

Honorary Life Memberships

The UCC Students’ Union Executive annually awards Honorary Life Memberships (HLM’s) of the SU. HLM’s are given to reward individuals that have demonstrated commitment to working in the best interests of students both within the University and externally. Honorary Life Members are entitled to speaking rights at all Student Councils. Honorary Life Memberships have been awarded to:

Year Recipients
2000 / 2001 Donnchadh Ó hAodha, Denis MacDonald, Kieran Dowd & Vince O’Brien
2001 / 2002 N/A
2002 / 2003 Aine Hyland, Paul Giller, Ray Foley, Fidelma Burnell, Cathal O’Suilleabhain, Aidan Moran, Fr Mike
2003 / 2004 Colm O’Sullivan, Richard Kavanagh, Sheila Maguire
2004 / 2005 Con O’Brien, Norma Ryan, Aine Ryall, Frank Martin, Cathal Kerrigan, John O’Halloran, Mary O’Sullivan, Michael Kelleher
2005 / 2006 Peter Flynn, John Murphy, Marion Browne, Catherine O’Riordan, Maria Dempsey & Extra ordinary contribution: Aine Hyland
2006 / 2007 Declan Kennedy, Caroline Fennell, Christine O’Donovan, Helen Prendergast, Gerard Wrixon
2007 / 2008 John McCarthy, Pat Cotter, Batt O’Keeffe
2008 / 2009 Brian Leahy, John McCarthy
2009 / 2010 Dr. Michael Byrne, Garda John O’Halloran, Garda Ken O’Connell, Michelle Nelson
2010 / 2011 Suzanne Buckley, Claire Dunne, Cathy Pembroke
2011 / 2012 Paul Moriarty, Cian O’Mahony, Dave O’Leary
2012 / 2013 Seamus McEvoy, Mary MacDonald, Michael McCormack
2013 / 2014 JP Quinn, Cormac McSweeney, Joe Leavey
2014 / 2015 Tom Coughlan, Evan Healy, Tom McCarthy