Feb 23, 2024

Student Politics Gets Fishy at the Piranha Hustings

Last night's Piranha Hustings at Doyle's Bar forced the TCDSU sabbatical election candidates to demonstrate their comedy chops.

Sáoirse Goes and Clara Roche

The first Piranha hustings since 2017 took place last night in Doyle’s Bar. 

The editors of the satirical magazine took to the stage to grill the 14 Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) sabbatical election candidates on their policies, promises and personal lives. 

The two candidates for the position of Editor of The University Times were first asked to write an article about their favourite toilet stall on campus. Speaking first, Brídín Ní Fhearraigh-Joyce expressed a preference for the “Hamilton glory hole”, in its ability to represent students “who want to be fucked by random strangers”. 


Hastings, in a more measured but less ambitious answer said, “that one next to Front Square”, presumably referring to Regent House. Hastings’ ignorance of the geography of the university may raise questions as to whether an American can confidently lead the second-best publication on campus. 

Hastings, as the former Music Editor of UT, was then asked to rate the host’s “sick beats”. In a polemic appraisal that may prove polarising among his constituents, Hastings said that the aforementioned “beats” “kind of sounded like a submarine radar”. In an act reminiscent of former Soviet Union president Boris Yeltsin, who in 1994 drunkenly disrobed in the presence of Bill Clinton, Hastings downed his pint before answering. Critics will note that he did not get it down in eight.

Ní Fhearraigh-Joyce, as the former Editor-in-Chief of TN2 magazine and one of 18,400 contributing writers for Trinity News, was then asked which of the three she would “fuck”, “marry” and kill”. She said that she would have “hate sex” with UT, “kill” Trinity News and marry TN2 because “it’s for life”. Her reference to the obscure and soon-obsolete TN2 magazine will likely puzzle readers unfamiliar with the third-best publication on campus. 

As the sole candidate for the position of Ents Officer was not in attendance, the Piranha editors instead produced a man who looked a bit like Hozier.

As the sole candidate for the position of Irish Language Officer was not in attendance, the Piranha editors instead produced a man who looked a bit like Hozier.

Asked about the worst thing she has submitted to Trinder, Comms and Marketing candidate Sarah Murnane said, “I have no idea, this is not funny, I’m so sorry”, echoing her statements in every UT meeting she has attended since the beginning of the year. 

The authors of this article cannot remember what Connor Dempsey said in response to this question, perhaps due to the pre-drinks they attended before the Piranha hustings. 

Beth Strahan, in a nod to her efforts to expand the social media presence of the Students’ Union, said that while she had not submitted anything to Trinder, she had matched with her lecturer on Hinge. 

Then asked about her experience writing for the Trinity Film Review and whether this will help her in writing an email that nobody reads, Murnane said “no-one reads [Trinity Publications] either”, prompting sighs from the 18,400 Trinity News contributing writers in the audience, as well as from Lara Mellett, the current chair of Trinity Publications, whose efforts towards a diplomatic Pax Romana were evidenced in her decision to attend the UT pre-drinks. 

In the Welfare race, Hamza Bana was represented by their campaign manager, who sported a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “Short King”, presumably in reference to Bana’s height, or lack thereof.

Presented with a first-year student who had shit himself, Welfare candidate Nathan Harrington said that he could relate to a wide range of experiences that first-year students face on campus, to which an audience member responded: “Virginity?” The actual status of Nathan Harrington’s virginity is unclear. 

Asked whether she plans to create a support group for students with little to no prospects, Hannah McAuley pointed to the existence of the PPES course group chat. 

The host then asked Harrington about the “plenty of jokes” in his manifesto, saying: “We just wanted to ask who your comedic influences are, because we can’t discern any.” Harrington responded that his manifesto was “100 per cent serious”. 

Education Officer candidates Eoghan Gilroy and Sé Ó hEidhin were then asked which building they would destroy on campus. Gilroy, as Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) convenor, reaffirmed his plans to destroy the Arts Block, citing “everyone in their fucking outfits […] smoking rollies” as motivations for the planned destruction. 

Ó hEidhin said that they would destroy the “big red box”, expanding upon the position they asserted in today’s Media Hustings: “We can’t just block the Book of Kells every time someone in the Arts Block sneezes the wrong way.” 

Gilroy was then asked, “for a friend”, how babies are made. Gilroy pleaded ignorance on the mechanics of procreation, and redirected the question to highlight “the issues gay people face on campus, primarily that you can’t go on Grindr on TCD WiFi”.

Having referred to Trinity’s style of assessment as “archaic”, Gilroy was asked whether he would be willing to joust for the position of Education Officer. He responded with a convoluted Game of Thrones reference that alienated the authors of this article, whose cultural knowledge begins with Gilmore Girls and ends with Glee

The evening culminated with the interrogation of the two presidential candidates. The format of the evening meant that Jenny Maguire’s improv background worked to her advantage for the first, and probably only, time in her career. By contrast, stand-up comedian Ralph Balfe faltered when forced to recite jokes that weren’t pre-rehearsed. 

Maguire was first asked about her plans for dealing with the seagulls on campus, to which she replied: “When God hands you a lemon, take the feathers off and sell it for €5.50 in the Buttery.” 

Answering the same question, Balfe suggested employing the use of “seagull mind control”, indicating a perhaps controversial position on the practice of hypnosis which is widely considered unethical in the absence of informed consent. 

At the after-party, which took place at [redacted]’s Botany Bay apartment, [redacted] Officer candidate [redacted] revealed discrepancies between his public position on the issue of [redacted] and his recreational use of it. The 18,400 Trinity News contributing writers were not in attendance at the after-party, presumably because they weren’t invited.

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