Student leaders have vowed to fight a management decision to close the landmark old college bar at University College Cork (UCC).
UCC Students’ Union, its societies’ executive and its clubs’ executive united last night to express their disappointment at the move which they said would result in the loss of a venue which hosted up to 150 club and society events, and up to 1,000 social events every year.
In a jointly signed letter to UCC president, Dr Michael Murphy, students’ union president, Eolann Sheehan, said they are “disappointed and appalled” by the decision, and called on management to reverse it: “The Old College Bar is an important aspect of our university’s social and cultural history as well as an indispensable service and facility used by societies, clubs and student organisations on campus.
“We will not accept the Old College Bar being removed and will not stand by the loss of our student space and social history.”
It also points to the bar’s importance as a live entertainment venue which gave a platform, early in their careers, to acts such as the Rubberbandits, Walking On Cars, Republic Of Loose, Jeffrey Lewis, Fred, Ham Sandwich, and The Frank And Walters.
Mr Sheehan said the students’ union is also “highly disappointed and shocked” by the lack of consultation as the issue was discussed.
It’s understood the decision was made by University Management Team Operations (UMTO) but it was not clear last night if it was linked to calls from city councillors in April for restrictions on campus bar opening times as part of efforts to curb drink-fuelled anti-social behaviour in the university precinct.
The Students’ Union said it would be happy to “advise and assist in updating and changing” the Old College Bar to meet modern requirements. The old bar has been a feature on campus for some 30 years. There is a second campus bar at the Áras na Mac Léinn student centre.
A spokesperson for UCC confirmed that its senior management team had decided to close the old bar and to continue the on-campus sale of alcohol through one outlet only in the New Bar.
“The space freed up will now be available for a range of other student facing services and activities including the option to use it for common room space for the wider student body,” he said.
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