Originally published in Volume I, Issue 7 on 1st February 1995 by Dara O’Briain.
Nestle, whose products have been banned from all Students’ Union shops since before Christmas, were the sponsors of the Arts Day sports marathon, which ran in the Sports Centre on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Although informed by the chairman of Arts Day, Daragh Lynch prior to the acceptance of the sponsorship, One World Society, the organisers of the campaign to remove Nestle, have expressed concern at the deal.
It is the first such sponsorship on campus since the referendum on November 10th, although they had previously given product sponsorship to the C&E for the Commerce Ball. The marathon is the precursor to Arts Day, which takes place on Friday next, a charity event in aid of the Simon Community.
The sponsorship was in the form of £500 donation to defray costs, 500 T-shirts, all with the Nestle logo, and £300 of product sponsorship. As well as being the sole sponsors of that event, Nestle will be mentioned in the Arts Day program, which is sold on the day.
The sponsorship was offered in response to a general approach made by the finance officer of Arts Day, Ronan Hurley. Rowntree Mackintosh had been past sponsors of the event before being bought by Nestle. When the offer was made, it was accepted by the steering committee after a long debate, says chairman Daragh Lynch. The doubts raised at that meeting lead him to consulting Arts Chaplain John Hasset, who directed him to speak to Peter Martin. Martin is the auditor of One World Society who had been the originators of the campaign to have Nestle banned. Hasset felt that it would have been “an act of disrespect to students’ expressed opinion not to have informed One World of the decision.”
After what was described by Peter Martin as a “brief” discussion with him, Arts Day proceeded with the sponsorship. Martin told the University Observer that he had told them that he couldn’t approve but that it was their decision. He said that he understood that it was a charity event but that he would not have accepted the sponsorship himself. Martin’s co-auditor of One World, Seona Ni Bhriain, when informed of the decision by the Observer said that she was surprised and that it was “pretty appalling”. She appreciated however, that Arts Day had made an effort to approach One World, an act she described as “sensitive”. She noted that the ‘Yes’ vote that had approved the ban, had been particularly strong in Arts.
Nestle representative Clodagh Whelan said that there had been no change in the policy by Nestle with regards to UCD sponsorship and that all applications would be considered as before the ban.