Students in University College Cork are mounting an online campaign to stop plans to close their college ‘Old Bar’ by their university management.

Eolann Sheehan the Students Union President in UCC is leading an online petition to protest the bar’s proposed closure and the university’s lack of consultation with students before making the decision.

Patricia McCarthy, the President of the UCC Societies executive and Michael Hanrahan of the UCC Clubs executive have joined the Union President in campaigning against the college’s decision. The Union of Student’s Ireland has rolled in behind the UCC students to fight to save the bar, piloting the hashtag #SaveOurSpace.

The ‘Old Bar’ has been on the Cork campus for thirty years, but has been ordered to close from the summer onwards by the University Management Team of Operations in UCC. Students and the UCC SU have criticised the lack of any prior discussion or consultation prior to the decision as “disappointing”.

The online petition set up by the SU President Sheehan and the clubs and societies officers of the college also states they were “shocked to learn that this resolution was in fact omitted from the public minutes of the UMTO meeting”. The petition will be delivered to Dr Michael Murphy, the President of University College Cork.

Speaking to the College Tribune, UCC SU President Eolann Sheehan the “decision was not made in the interests on students.”

“We sit on a lot of committees each week; the decision was made on the one committee we don’t sit on. This will effect very student, club and society in the university. We have expressed interest to the university to look into how we can adapt and how we can help to change the bar”.

The University will have to table the motion again in the next two weeks on closing the bar. “We will be calling [to say] the decision to close the old bar wasn’t done correctly. We don’t know the train of thought, there was no reason given to us” said Sheehan.

The Old Bar is one of two pubs on the UCC campus, but Sheehan argued that both have value and are distinct from each other. “The new bar would be a very different vibe, more towards sports clubs and teams. The Old Bar is a live music venue, it’s for more for functions, clubs, societies, fundraisers” explained the UCC SU President. Acts to have played the Old Bar in recent years include the Rubberbandits, Walking On Cars, Republic of Loose and HamSandwich.

The Student Bar in UCD was closed in 2012 due to massive debts and left Belfield without a bar for a year until the Clubhouse Bar was opened in 2013. However financial concerns don’t underpin the decision to close the Old Bar in Cork, as it’s managed by an outside company who pay rent to the university. The management of the Old Bar have said they were and would be happy to stay on and keep running the bar.

“We’ll be pushing as hard as we can for the next two weeks and past that to save the Old Bar” said UCC SU President Sheehan.


Editor  |   Jack Power