Over the October Bank Holiday weekend, University College Dublin Law students will make the long-awaited transition from Roebuck Castle to the new Sutherland building, which will assume the role of the leading centre for legal learning in Ireland.
When it surfaced that Roebuck Castle was to move from serving as a legal educational institution, questions arose as to what the building would become. Rumours were in circulation to the effect of its becoming a residence bar, or a shop to replace Centra located in Merville. The UCD School of Mathematical Sciences were also rumored as new tenants.
However, a spokesperson for UCD told the University Observer, “UCD Commercial, Residential and Hospitality will manage Roebuck. The intention is to establish some student facilities with a focus on accommodating the needs of overseas students and supporting cultural activities.”
The new Sutherland school is located in a milieu central to campus and neighbours the Quinn School of Business, which was opened in 2002.
The new building, which is named after the project’s benefactor, Peter Sutherland, who served as Attorney General between 1982 and 1984, has cost an estimated €29 million and is laid out over 5,100 square metres.
The building aims to bring together, under one roof, undergraduate and graduate law studies, the Institute of Criminology, legal research centres and continuing professional development programmes.
The construction of the Sutherland school has been characterised by delay and setbacks, most notably the government’s cut in funding to the project, a decision which was ultimately reversed, allowing construction to proceed as normal.
Although the cuts were expected to be implemented, the injection of State funding was saved at the expense of other UCD construction projects. This, according to a UCD spokesperson, was “because the Law School contract and fundraising campaign were at such an advanced stage.”
Although change is afoot in UCD’s law faculty, it is undoubtedly a time which sees excitement and nostalgic sentiment felt in equal measure. However, the faculty has now outgrown its present surroundings with the increase of undergraduate programmes and the extension of these from three to four years in length.
This coupled with a mere two lecture theatres and a handful of seminar rooms, has seen law students scattered across campus far more than they have been taught out of the Law School itself.