Impeached UCDSU President Katie Ascough: It felt like there was “a target on my back from the beginning”
Ascough, who was impeached last month, also claims she was subjected to threats of physical abuse.
Former UCD Students’ Union President Katie Ascough says it felt like there was “a target on my back” immediately following her election as president earlier this year.
Ascough was impeached as a result of a referendum that took place in late October, a referendum that took place after a petition calling for her impeachment returned over 1,200 signatures.
The petition was circulated after Ascough’s decision to remove information on abortion from the Winging It magazine, which is distributed to new students in UCD.
The information removed from the magazine included details on obtaining information safely, how to purchase abortion pills online and price lists for abortion clinics outside of Ireland.
In an interview with Colm Flynn on Catholic news network EWTN News Nightly this week, Ascough claims that there were calls for her to be impeached as far back as her election in March and that she felt like “there was a target on my back from the beginning”.
“If you go back to the day of my election, so I was elected on March 9, 2017, a few minutes after my election was announced some people were already calling for my impeachment on Twitter and Facebook, so I wasn’t overly surprised that some people were looking to impeach me,” Ascough said.
“I mean, it did kind of feel like some people were waiting for that from the get-go and that there was a target on my back from the beginning and no matter what I had done, or… I don’t know, it was hard to see how I could have avoided some sort of targeting.
“But when this happened it did go quite far, there was some really awful stuff said online, some very violent language and even some threats of physical abuse on campus towards myself.”
Asked how she coped with being the subject of abuse, Ascough replied: “Support. Support from family and friends is probably the one thing that really got me through.
“There were so many people praying for me, there were people doing novenas, there were people doing family prayer and offering up for me, having masses and everything.
“The support from family and friends and the prayers are honestly the only things that could have gotten me through because there was a lot of hate and it had to be… it was so balanced out with support and I did my best to focus on the support and sometimes I wasn’t even able to read what was online because it was upsetting.”
You can see the interview, in which Ascough also discusses her pro-life views and revisits the circumstances behind the removal of abortion information from the Winging It magazine, in full below.