Students’ Club Staff call off strike action
Legal advice being sought regarding former treasurer
The University has agreed to provide €750,000 in financial assistance to the Student Club Committee in order to allow it to conclude its business and meet its responsibilities.
The Club’s nine staff members took redundancies on August 31st this year, however they still had not received payment as of Monday September 24th when the Club’s AGM took place. Mandate Trade Union, which was representing the Club staff, had been due to start strike action yesterday, Monday October 1st if the €150,000 payment had not been received, however this has now been resolved.
The University has also agreed to settle the remaining debts of the Club, including a payment of €140,000 owed to the Students’ Union by the Club, and the fees owed to McNally Business Services for compiling the Club’s financial records and accounts. UCD Students’ Union President Rachel Breslin, commented that the Union “weren’t expecting to recover” the money owed to them “given that the Club is insolvent”. She stated it was “quite a significant amount of money because it includes fees that the accountants had provided that we could have been forced to ourselves cover in the event that the Student Bar couldn’t.”
The AGM marks the first time the financial records of the Student Club have been released since 2007. It was revealed that between 2007 and 2012, the Club’s yearly turnover dropped from €1.34m for 2006/07 to just €805,000 for 2011/12. McNally’s stated the Club’s overheads and fixed costs were not sustainable, with the accounts marking sustained losses going from €47,000 to €156,000 in the same period.
In addition to the failure to file accounts, successive Student Club Committees held no meetings or AGMs in this period, despite being constitutionally obliged to do so. Although details of the members of the Committee for each year were not available, it was confirmed that the responsibility to publish accounts and call Committee meetings during this time resided with the then Student Club Committee Treasurer and Secretary, David Carmody, who had been in the role since 2005.
The Committee have confirmed that the are seeking legal advice regarding the actions of the former Club Treasurer and Secretary. A member of the Club Committee stated at the AGM: “As a Committee, we want to see it followed through. It’s an issue that is still ongoing.” Following the provision of funding from the University, Breslin stated: “If we were to look at [legal action], it would be at the individual not at the university for liability.”
Now that the Club’s financial difficulties have been resolved, it is a possibility that the Club will reopen in a reduced capacity as an occasional venue. Breslin said: “We’re working at the minute on a plan for the future of the bar. I think students will be very happy with it but nothing has been set in stone just yet so it’s something that will develop over the next few days… It was quite clear that the existing structure didn’t work so we’re trying to find something that will.”
The Club’s license expired last Friday, September 28th, and its renewal will depend on the outcome of the Committee’s negotiations with the University, as the premises returned to the University’s control as part of the financial agreement.