Monday 26 June 2017

Students won't go to the ball as college refuses to shut campus

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

UCD students have accused college authorities of spoiling the party after refusing to close the university campus from 1pm on Holy Thursday for their annual ball. The event has now been cancelled.

The closure of the Belfield, Dublin 4, campus would have seen the cancellation of classes and the shutdown of buildings and facilities, such as the creche.

The ball, which features an Oxegen festival-style band line-up, has doubled in size in recent years, and about 8,000 were expected to attend on April 21.

But the huge increase in numbers means that the event now requires planning permission, with conditions laid down by bodies such as the gardai, Health Service Executive and Dublin Fire Brigade.

In February, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council granted the students' union a licence for the event. But the college has now told the students it cannot comply with the requirement to close the campus from 1pm to both pedestrian and vehicle traffic, except emergency services and transport related to the event.

Agreement

Students' union president Paul Lynam said the college was reneging on an agreement made last October.

A UCD spokesperson said they were not prepared to close the campus at 1pm on a busy working day.

The traditional day for the event falls on Good Friday this year and it would not have been possible to sell alcohol, on which the students' union depends for revenue.

But licensing regulations forbid the sale of alcohol from midnight on Holy Thursday, which would have been a factor in the earlier start this year.

Mr Lynam said the university authorities had acknowledged that the commitment given in October should have been honoured.

Announcing the cancellation, he said it had been " a very difficult decision but the university has ensured that there is no feasible way that the UCD Ball can take place".

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