It’s difficult to know where to begin reviewing the performance of Mike Pat O’Donoghue, like the man himself it’s been a meandering miscellany year of the weird and wonderful. Some say the Entertainments office hasn’t changed in the past three years, and that O’Donoghue is a product of the Redmond and Quinlivan schools of Ents Officers. It’s a fair enough assessment since O’Donoghue has been involved in the Ents office since the days of Holly Irvine, however his sentiment has always been If it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ and he feels he has mixed it up a bit this year. I never said we were going to revolutionise and have go-karting around campus and stuff.”
He does feel his job is more difficult than his predecessors’ since this is the first year that every course in UCD has been fully modularised in my six years here it’s always just been, This hasn’t been done before’. Then you do it, and people are like, Oh. That’s a really good event but I’ve an essay.’.”
The highlight of his year he admits, is yet to come 23rd April’s UCD Ball. Having spent the last three weeks with a phone seemingly glued to his ear, O’Donoghue was finally able to announce the line-up over the weekend. It’s going to be amazing. We’ve billed it as Europe’s biggest private party, and it is, but it’s probably the biggest student event that’s ever happened in Ireland. He cites Redmond’s work last year as being instrumental in gaining the permission to increase the capacity by three thousand, there’s a certain amount of trust the Ents office has got we’re taken very seriously by the college. The Ball hasn’t been without its hiccups however, having set up an online ticket purchasing option, the website subsequently crashed the day the tickets went on sale what kills me is that there was 22,000 hits on the website in two or three hours and very few tickets went because the servers just got overloaded. The event is, as yet, not a sell-out but O’Donoghue is confident that the announcement of the line-up will generate the last push of interest required.
As for his disappointments, one gig at the beginning of the year stands out as a major let down. Poor attendance by students for a gig which he felt would sell out doesn’t mean he wouldn’t run it again the people that were there had the time of their lives and the Ents Office strived to recoup the losses through nightclub events which they managed to do. But selling out gigs in the Student Bar has proved more difficult than ever before, and O’Donoghue concedes that students are staying in drinking before catching last buses into city centre nightclubs, essentially bypassing the bar altogether. But he still feels that the bar is the hub of entertainment activity in Belfield, and moreso with the loss of ‘The Pit’ outside the Centre Club.
O’Donoghue has some sage advice for incoming VP Jonny Cosgrove: People elect you as your own officer. You appreciate advice and all the help you get but if you just have a gut feeling sometimes that an event’s going to work, just go with it. Just do it.
As for next year he wants to stay in the entertainment-y student side of things which is as enigmatic an answer as has ever been given. Looking back on the year he says he would do it all again in a heartbeat. “Yes. 100 per cent. I have less hair, but it’s a recession, so I’d expect a bit of receding in a recession.”