The UCD Ball will take place this year, but not on UCD campus, according to the Students’ Union. An on-campus event was overruled by the University Management Team (UMT) due to the stipulation by Donnybrook Gardaí that the campus would have to close to hold the event. SU President Marcus O’Halloran announced the news at the last SU Council meeting of 2015.
“We had numerous meetings which went across the hierarchy of the college and eventually culminated in November in having a meeting with the UMT to discuss once and for all whether they would support the event on campus,” says SU Ents Manager Paul Kilgallon. “The major overriding factor of difficulty was the stipulation by Donnybrook Gardaí that the campus must close to accommodate the event. Closing a campus of this size for an event has its own difficulties and its own barriers, and the UMT decided that it wouldn’t be in the greatest interests of the college to close the grounds for this event.”
The news comes as a disappointment to the SU following the return of the Freshers’ Ball to campus last September. This was the first time the Freshers’ Ball had been held on campus since 2005, which was seen as a “stepping stone” to holding the UCD Ball on campus according to Kilgallon. The UCD Ball did not take place last year as a result of unsuccessful attempts to source permission to hold the event on campus, which last year’s SU President Feargal Hynes said was “the unique selling point” of the Ball.
An alternative venue for the Ball has not yet been sourced. “We did think we had something last week that was more or less ready to confirm, but it has fallen through,” says Kilgallon. “We had alternatives in the back of our mind that we’re now pursuing. We’re confident that it will be an event that students are proud of at the end of the year and we’d obviously like it to be of a grand nature and a festival kind of vibe.”
The UCD Ball was held in 2013 and 2014 in the Three Arena, which Kilgallon says “was met with a yawn” from the student body. The SU are currently looking for “a space that has both an outdoor and an indoor provision for students.”
The Ball has been held in off-campus locations since 2013, when it was deemed too unsafe to be held on campus. When asked whether the Ball would be held off-campus for the foreseeable future, Kilgallon responded that “unfortunately where we’re at at this moment in time, it’s quite obvious that the college don’t want it on the grounds of the campus… I think it’s up to us to ensure that we continue all our events in a professional manner, prove that we are not the same Students’ Union that ran these events ten years ago, and continue doing professional shows to the best of our ability, safe shows, to ensure that we’re ready for another shot at this… probably we’re waiting until proof of that is established at the same type of level.”