Impeached UCD Students' Union president: 'I never promised to break the law'

69% of students voted to remove Katie Ascough from office

Impeached UCD Students' Union president: 'I never promised to break the law'

Katie Ascough | Image: Katie Ascough

The impeached president of UCD Students' Union says she would not "break the law" in relation to abortion information.

Some 69% of the 6,600 turnout voted in favour of removing Katie Ascough from office on Thursday.

The pro-life activist had come under fire for removing information about abortion services from the college's student handbook.

Ms Ascough - who is a prominent pro-life campaigner - pledged during her campaign that she would respect the union's pro-choice mandate over her own personal views on abortion.

She had maintained she had legal concerns about publishing price lists and websites that sell abortion pills.

Campaigners for her impeachment had argued that that it was unlikely that the information would have resulted in any legal penalties, pointing out similar information was printed last year without any consequences.

Speaking to Pat Kenny here on Newstalk, Ms Ascough says she did not hide her views during the campaign.

"In my acceptance speech when I won presidency, I addressed the elephant in the room that some of my opinions might not be the norm in UCD - I'm openly Catholic and I have pro-life views".

"I ran on a range of different issues to support students... but of course in interviews and in hustings (and) at debates, I was asked lots of questions about my views on abortion and different things.

"I was very upfront and honest about what I believed and who I was".

But she says her 8th amendment views were not in her campaign literature.

"I guess pro-life views weren't the platform I was running on - so I was running on students issues and that's what I was campaigning for.

"I answered all the questions very upfront - I think anybody should be allowed to run for students' union president of their own students union."

She says while her view is not to repeal the 8th amendment, she understands the students' union is different.

But she says legal advice she received meant she thought it best to remove information on abortion from a student handbook.

"I promised to respect the pro-choice mandate of the union, and I absolutely do, but I never promised to break the law or risk a personal criminal record for the rest of my life."

"I don't think it's fair to pressure someone to break the law against their will".

She says the decision was discussed with all four sabbatical officers for a week "back and forth".

"It's my students union as well, there's 30,000 students - everyone should be entitled to run".

And she says it is "not beyond the bounds of possibility" that she could run for the position again.