With the college term starting back, there are fresh fears among the student body of UCD that society affiliated violence will break out again this semester, just like it did at the end of last year. The inter-society violence began back then after several societies, most notably EngSoc and C&E, announced that they would send teams to participate in inter-varsity debating competitions against Trinity and IT Tallaght. The L&H and LawSoc both viewed this as an intrusion on their territory as the representatives of the University. They promptly announced that they would hold a Steel Belly Competition later on in the year to rival the Iron Stomach Competition that the C&E Society hold every year.
This then resulted in heated protests held by both sides, which quickly spiralled into violent clashes. The worst bloodshed occurred on Law B&L day, when members of FilmSoc and the C&E societies formed an alliance and swarmed the pitches where members of societies like Lawsoc and the L&H were playing tag rugby. The resulting clashes left over thirty dead and more than one hundred hospitalised. The violence then moved out of the UCD campus during summer, as members of rival societies clashed in their hometowns, or in the US while they were on their J1 Visas. With term starting back, there are fears that the violence will begin again in the next few weeks, especially as societies are rumoured to have spent the summer preparing for a return to the conflict.
The Turbine spoke to an Auditor of one particular society involved (who shall both remain nameless) who bragged about how their society “had met members of the Colombian Guerrilla movement, FARC, over the summer for guerrilla warfare and weapons training.” They said that their members were “expertly trained in all manners of warfare, and were prepared to use lethal force if it becomes necessary.”
UCD Students’ Union was ultimately ineffective in their attempts to tackle society-related violence last year. It is hoped that the incoming administration will prove more effective in dealing with this perilous problem than their predecessors were.
Shane Clune – Turbine Writer