A Wild Few Weeks

Rachel O’Neill – Editor

The last two weeks have been a bit crazy in UCD and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. The pictures that emerged of our SU President at the Rally for Life while disappointing, are not surprising. Katie Ascough and I do not see eye to eye on every issue but given she was the President of the SU at the time, one wonders was a political statement made? Yes, the event took place on a Saturday which is of course outside of her contract hours as is the March for Choice. That being said, Katie Ascough is choosing not to attend the March for Choice. Perhaps it would have been wise to sit out the Rally for Life this year too. Be that as it may, if you attend the March for Choice this Saturday then do. We need all the help we can get with the upcoming referendum next year.

Elsewhere, there is some good news that UCD are consenting to the construction of lights around Wynnsward Drive. I’ve been parking my car around there for close to 5 years now and this is most welcome news. Anything that increases the safety of UCD students is good news to me and I’m particularly pleased that this is happening.

The launch of a new fitness study in partnership with Genomics Medicine Ireland is interesting too. We know very little about which genes contribute to lifestyle and the fact that a new clinic has been opened to study this is great news for UCD. We have a number of world class researchers in UCD science and for a study this big to be taking place in UCD is a huge thing. I really hope that the information we gain from this study will be helpful in the future.

Finally last week the entertaining L&H debate about whether an arts student or a science student is more useful on a life raft took place. I missed the debate but Dr John O’Connor, one of my favourite lecturers was speaking. Knowing John, he probably put an excellent case forward for the science student. That being said, arts students have their uses too. For example, we definitely need one or two to document L&H losing their €12,000 Arthur Cox sponsorship. Ouch guys. And I thought that the Hist were bad.

Planning Applications Show UCD’s Direction

Cian Carton – Editor

The Tribune’s lead story this issue is on UCD’s attempt to expand NovaUCD. Anything which promotes innovations and entrepreneurship is to be welcomed. The fact the expansion is required due to the growth of the innovation hub is good news.

The latest application is the third major project UCD has sought planning permission for this year. The expansion to the Quinn School of Business has been somewhat overlooked, given the controversy over the planned private club and expansion to O’Reilly Hall. The Tribune reported last year that the private staff ‘University Club’ was Andrew Deeks’ main developmental priority, as he felt there was no suitable location to bring guests to when visiting the campus.

Having a look at the UCD Strategic Campus Development Plan 2016-2021-2026, or the UCD Strategy 2015-2020, is all well and good, but watching the plans come to life is key. Reading through what seems like endless pages of planning applications may not seem like the ideal task, but it is vital if you want to understand the direction of the university.

For example, pull up page 21 of the Strategic Campus Development Plan. ‘Potential Developments’ under UCD Estates include 2,000 square metres of new buildings, with another 1,000 square meters of refurbishment, as part of NovaUCD. Now, read the application for planning permission for NovaUCD, or just read the lead story.

UCD has been pushed back to applying for a 1,066 square metre development, in order to stay clear of the land reserved for a motorway. That motorway has been a national controversy for decades. Will it be built soon? Probably not.

So how does NovaUCD expand in a couple of years’ time? They need to shift car parking spaces just to secure planning permission this time. The spaces will be close to the building, and will take up the only real areas the building could expand towards. Merville House is also a protected structure. How will UCD address these challenges? As always, the Tribune will be on hand to monitor these developments. Hopefully you don’t have to hang on until 2026 to find out.