Management at University College Cork has done a U-turn on its decision to call time on the Old Bar.
UCC Students’ Union confirmed yesterday that the landmark on-campus bar, a feature for over 30 years, has been saved from closure and will reopen at the start of the new college year on September 12.
It follows a decision by members of the university management team operations group who considered a detailed proposal from students’ union leaders which sets out a strategy for the reinvention of the bar.
It is expected that the bar, which will continue to serve alcohol, will be developed to provide more food offerings; will be used for more club, society, and music events; and will also host student-led modules focusing on skills such as cooking and public speaking.
Students’ union president Eolann Sheehan, who spearheaded the union’s campaign to save the bar, said they are delighted with the decision.
“We have been working with UCC management since the closure was announced and we are delighted with the outcome of our campaign,” said Mr Sheehan.
“Our proposal seeks to reinvigorate the space and to revive it. College management took what we had to offer on board and we thank them for that.”
The proposed closure was announced by college management in July and followed calls from city councillors in April for restrictions on campus bar opening times as part of wider efforts to curb drink-fuelled anti- social behaviour in the university precinct.
In a statement, UCC said it proposed to close the bar and continue the sale of alcohol from just one outlet — the New Bar in Arás na Mac Léinn — and that the space freed up would be available for a range of other “student-facing services and activities”.
The closure decision sparked a wave of opposition from the students’ union and various clubs and societies, who said closure of the bar 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. They also criticised the lack of consultation over the decision.
They said the bar was an important social space and live entertainment venue which gave a platform, early in their careers, to acts such as the Rubberbandits, Walking On Cars, Republic Of Loose, and the Frank And Walters.
Last night, Mr Sheehan said the union’s proposals were considered by the university management team operations group earlier this month and the decision to reverse the closure was communicated to them on Monday.
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