CLASS trips organised by the Students’ Union (SU) to greyhound races do not stand in contradiction to welfare talks on gambling, according to SU President, Aodhán Ó Deá and SU Welfare Officer, Conor Fingleton. Despite acknowledging that “gambling is a big problem among the student population”, Mr Fingleton denied that class trips to racing events would encourage students to gamble inappropriately.
The welfare talk, which dealt with the issue of student gambling, was one of the better attended welfare talks, according to Mr Fingleton and there are plans to hold another gambling talk in the second semester, due to the popularity of the first. However, despite this, Mr Fingleton was of the opinion that running trips to greyhound races was not conflicting with the advice given to students at the welfare talks.
Mr Fingleton added that the welfare talks “went into how there is nothing wrong with the occasional going to [the races] because if you go with a group, with friends, it can be enjoyable but the problem is then when people become reclusive and… they’re wagering large amounts of money and become obsessed and their whole lives revolve around it.”
According to Mr Ó Deá “if a whole class goes, it can become apparent that one or two people have problems with gambling and that’s another way of highlighting it also.” However, he stressed “I’m not saying that these trips are going to be a great way of highlighting that, I’m not saying that for one minute, but it can help, if you are going, if your class group is going… this isn’t the purpose of them.”
SU Entertainments (Ents) Officer, Gary Redmond, said he did not see a conflicting message, “I don’t see any issue with it to be honest.” Mr Redmond went on to say, “I don’t have any issue with it whatsoever. It’s only when people obviously have a problem and then they need to talk to the relevant people, like the counselling service or the student advisors or the chaplain.”
Defending the class trips, Mr Ó Deá explained that “we’re trying to kind of find a way for students to engage. Them going to the greyhounds organised by their class rep will not create a problem.”
Mr Fingleton is confident the talk on gambling will “more than likely” run again next semester. The welfare talks are held on Wednesdays between 1pm and 2pm upstairs in the Student Centre, during term time.