Gardai oppose campus raves; Drug arrests endanger future events

Originally published in Volume I, Issue 12 on 12th May 1995 by Pat Leahy .

 

The future of large dance events on campus is in doubt following a number of arrests for drugs related offenses at the recent Rag Ball. Gardai from the Drugs Squad made 12 arrests on the night, and although it is not known if any charges will be brought, the Gardai have made their concerns known to the College authorities. Sources have indicated that they have threatened to object to the granting of a license if rave-type events are held in UCD in the future. The University Observer has learned that Gardai have been in contact with senior College officials in the Building and Services department. There was no indication at the time of going to press as to whether the College would itself ban the events, although sources in the Ents Office were known to be concerned that such actions may be taken.

Students’ Union entertainments have had difficulty in obtaining licenses for large scale events as the Rag Ball and Freshers’ Ball in the past due to reservations expressed by the Gardai and complaints from from local residents about noise level late at night. However, the events have never been stopped before, although Ents Officers have been warned that licenses will not be given automatically. Prosecutions for drug use at such an event would greatly hinder any future applications for licenses.

Gardai report an upsurge in the use of the drug in the past year and its street value has dropped to £5 per tablet. While widespread drug use has not been a feature in UCD events before, it has been on the increase lately.

The controversy could have serious effects on the negotiations concerning the building of the proposed of the new Ents Hall and Student Centre. Although College Secretary Dr. Gerry Wright has expressed concern about drug use in the Bar in the past, it has never been considered a problem. However it is believed that the College authorities would object strongly to a venue where raves, and their attendant drug use, could be a regular feature.

In response, Ents Officer Conor O’Kane said that banning dance events would have a serious effect on the service of SU Ents supplies to students. He said that drug use at the Rag Ball has been overstated and that Ents had a very good relationship with the Gardai. He pointed out the market for live music at such events is small and that the popularity of the club scene in Dublin indicated that dance events were what people wanted to go to.

Should the large Students’ Union balls be discontinued it would pose a serious problem for the Ents Office. Despite the experience at the Rag Ball, most of the events of this nature are highly profitable, enabling smaller less profitable and loss making events to be run throughout the year. The Freshers’ Ball in October was attended by almost three thousand people and passed without any trouble.