Originally published in Volume I, Issue 11 on 18th April 1995 by Dara O’Briain .
Substantial losses incurred in the running of Rag Week have put it’s future in question. This year the event lost in the region of £12,000, and with similar losses in the last two years, the total loss since 1992 on the event has been close to £40,000. 800 free tickets to the Rag Ball were handed out to boost crowd numbers. Ents Officer Conor O’Kane stated that 1,400 more tickets, at £7 each, would have had to have been sold to break even. The event is now under review by the Union, and Education Officer Malcolm Byrne has called for its abolition.
Receipts for Rag Ball sale were submitted for 1,350 tickets. Mr O’Kane estimated the final attendance at 2,000, while Ben Hartigan, head of Pro-Tec Security, placed the figure at between 2,200 and 2,400. The event was held in the Bar with a rave in the Restaurant and the Dubliners headlining in a marquee. A guest list of 250 was in operation and Mr O’Kane says that the remaining tickets were handed out free when the ticket sales were seen to be disappointing. There were no further receipts submitted from either the door or the cloakroom as the money was used by O’Kane to pay artists such as the Jugglers and Fire-Eaters, as well as extra crew employed on the night.
Mr O’Kane stated that there had been no financial inpropriety involved in the selling of tickets, and referring to the losses in previous years said that he has “made the same mistakes as Paul (Davis) and made the same mistakes as Karl (O’Hanlon).” Mr Davis ran Rag Week in 1994 at a loss of £11,000 and Mr O’Hanlon, Ents Officer for the 1993 Rag Week lost £14,400. Union Finance Officer Jennifer English expressed disappointment stating that it was “a question of not learning from previous years’ mistakes.”
Rag Week was intended as a charity event, with collections made on the Friday for the Make-A-Wish foundation. 40 collectors were invited over from Bangor to help, at a cost of £500, although according to O’Kane only a few hundred pounds was raised. No accommodation could be found for the collectors, who were left by Services to sleep in the Arts Block before leaving for the 7:30 boat in the morning after the Ball.
This year’s Rag Week had been regarded by many students as the most low-key for a number of years. A number of events were cancelled at a late stage, including the Ents Cabaret, which was held on Wednesday night. Attendance at events such as the pyjama cycle into town was very low and most students asked admitted to being mostly unaware of the events planned. The Ball, which was to be the focus of the week, was timetabled to clash with both an Eng. Day disco in the Furnace and the Science Ball in Malahide.
Malcolm Byrne was said to be “furious” at the loss. He is calling for the week to be abolished, stating that it’s role is already being filled by the Faculty Days and that the Union has would better spend the money elsewhere. President Aisling Ni Bhriain said that proposals regarding “safe guards and checks and balances” against such a loss in future were to be drawn up by the Union executive in the next fortnight but did not rule out the recommendation that the week be significantly altered. Incoming Ents Officer John Mitchell stated that there would be less emphasis on Rag Week next year.
Union sources are said to favour a plan that would involve the committees of faculty days in rebuilding Rag Week. It is not sure whether those committees would be willing to enter such an arrangement. Definite moves are being made, said Ms English, to arrange budgeting procedures within the Union so that a similar loss could not be incurred again.