€14,000 umbrellas? Clubhouse’s COVID crunch revealed at AGM, including major expense

The UCD Clubhouse held its Annual General Meeting on the 13th of April, giving the community an inside look at how the student bar operated during the bulk of the pandemic. 

During the period covered by the review, the Clubhouse incurred a total loss of €117,375, 34% of which was caused by the depreciation of assets. The rest of this loss was caused by significant costs incurred over the course of the pandemic, despite the bar not being able to open for extended periods of time. 

These costs included €13,930 spent on parasols for the Clubhouse’s outdoor seating area, €10,182 on “health and safety items” and €2,767 on “maintenance/repairs”. Income was only reported to be €1,638, and no license or sponsorship was reported. It is believed that replacement sponsorships have since been secured. 

Despite the significant costs incurred, the financial statements have not been audited. 

Patrons, however, should apparently not be too concerned about the future viability of UCD’s only student bar. According to the Secretary’s Report, management had reworked the bar back into being a “going concern”, and that “optimism was in the air”. Credit for this was given to the Clubhouse’s assets. The Clubhouse currently has €227,190 in cash and bank accounts, and the bar’s physical assets hold a net book value of €69,987. 

The Clubhouse had already seen some minor but notable difficulties in operation before the beginning of the pandemic. Minutes from the previous AGM held in January of 2020 noted issues in “meeting budgetary targets” due to a €6,000 drop in bar sales over the course of the previous year. The bar also reported challenges in securing events due to competition from the University Club (which opened in 2019). 

UCD has a long history of student bars with financial troubles. The Clubhouse itself is a successor to the UCD Student Club, run by SU and college staff and closed in 2012. Once one of Ireland’s most profitable bars, it shuttered after the University was forced to bail it out for upwards of €750k.

Jack McGee – Head of Investigations