By Georgie Darling
A University of Sheffield student has been elected as a local councillor, making her the youngest councillor to represent the city.
Moya O’Rourke, 20, is in her first year of an architecture degree, whilst simultaneously working to support Labour for Sheffield City ward.
The election, which was held on May 7, saw the student win her seat with 25 votes ahead of her competitors.
She is the only councillor representing Labour in the ward and will work closely with two Green Party candidates – Robert Murphy and Douglas Johnson.
It appears that politics runs in the family, as Ms O’Rourke is the second of her siblings to act as a local councillor – her older brother Liam has recently been re-elected to stand for his ward in Rochdale.
Shortly after votes were finalised, the official Sheffield Green Party Facebook page had commented on Ms O’Rourke’s personal Facebook suggesting that she had only won the votes due to ‘the Corbyn effect’ rather than her own hard work.
Despite facing this controversy from the opposing party, Ms O’Rourke is determined to prove that, as a student, she has an advantage on previous candidates: “One thing I’d like to achieve is to stop having people turn to younger people, such as myself, and go: ‘students are disinterested.’
“Well – that’s not true: I’m 20 and I am a councillor. If you’re going to tell me that young people aren’t interested then you’re just lying to yourself.”
She continued: “Being a student has definitely made a difference I think. I’m going to take a year out and I feel it will be an advantage. I wouldn’t have stood for councillor if I didn’t feel I could authentically represent the people.”
As a previous chair of Sheffield Labour Students, Ms O’Rourke is proud to finally be representing the party on a professional scale.
“I think the current political situation at Sheffield University is brilliant. I’ve never been formally educated in politics – I didn’t study it at college or university.”
She said: “I’ve learned so much from the people I’ve met and Sheffield is very Red – if you’re talking politically – which is very good for me!”
“I think it’s wonderful. It’s the one time in our lives where we can actually have a voice. We can really work towards things we care about.”