Speaking to The University Observer, students claimed that PJ Carroll and Company Ltd, a supplier of cigarettes to the bar, were conducting research for their company.
Manager of the bar, Declan Hyland, explained: “They don’t approach people, they have no branding on their clothing, and it’s up to people to approach themselves. It’s on for a six-week trial basis where they gather information on a number of pubs around Dublin and we were one of the pubs asked to participate.”
Hyland informed The University Observer that the sellers inhabit the smoking area twice a week and will be do so for six weeks.
UCD SU President Paul Lynam said of the matter: “There were people from Carroll’s who were in the smoking area. They couldn’t approach students and if students approached them, they could ask them a question.”
Lynam contradicted Hyland’s claim that the sellers will be there on a fortnightly basis for six weeks: “We agreed that they could only do it on one occasion and we don’t want it to happen again. It won’t happen again.”
On the matter of whether or not a survey was being conducted, Lynam said: “They weren’t getting surveyed per se. It wasn’t random sampling. They had to go up and volunteer the information themselves.”
The University Observer spoke to a representative of PJ Carroll and Company Ltd who said of the matter: “It wasn’t a survey. It was kind of direct selling. They wouldn’t have been carrying out a survey.”
When informed that students were asked to complete a survey upon purchasing cigarettes from the sellers, the representative replied that they were “surprised to hear that”.
The representative denied any knowledge of a survey or of research being conducted by the company. However, Hyland described the research: “Basically the cigarettes company that supplies cigarettes to the student club are doing research on their brand.”
A spokesperson from the Office of Tobacco Control said: “Anyone selling tobacco has to be registered and they have to display their registration details on their closed containers and vending machines.” It is the understanding of The University Observer that the sellers were not wearing any form of branding.