UCDSU President Rachel Breslin has revealed that the recently closed Student Club owes the Union in excess of €120,000. This comes in response to the claim in The Sunday Independent that UCD Students’ Union owes the Student Club “a massive €90,000”, allegedly in unpaid bar tabs.
When questioned about this, Breslin stated: “From the draft balance sheet that I have seen that is about to go to the auditors, there is a liability owed to UCDSU, so money owed to UCDSU in excess of €120,000 and no mention of moneys owed to the Bar. Perhaps this is the case because all I have seen is our management accounts but if that is so, then it’s certainly offset by the money owed to UCDSU.”
Breslin blamed financial mismanagement of both institutions as the reason this debt arose for the Bar: “I think that the money came from the relationship, in terms of the nature of the accounting practices that were happening and when the accounts on the bar are finalised and published, I think it will become clear to all of us what was happening and why that debt arose.”
The accounts are awaiting finalisation, a process which will only be complete once the Student Club Committee formally adopt the accounts presented to them by McNally Business Services at the Bar’s AGM, which is due to take place this week.
Breslin was critical of past Students’ Union teams for allowing bar tab practices to emerge over the years, stating: “I would never in a million years condone a bar tab. I don’t think it is in any way an acceptable practice for the Students’ Union to have, whether that is as a result of class rep tokens and drink tokens but… I think the days of bar tabs are certainly over. There’s no justification for doing that.”
With the Student Club closed and its committee considering disbanding, it is unlikely that the Bar will reopen again this year, however Breslin said: “It’s a grim situation and it’s something that is on the top of our agenda every day in trying to figure out a plan to get the bar open, how to make it viable, and so it is something we’re very much aware of and we’re trying to do everything we can to get a bar.”
The situation for the SU worsened last week when the contractors for the new UCD Clubhouse Bar, Noel Thompson Builders, were deemed insolvent and construction on the bar halted entirely, pending a creditors meeting where it is likely a liquidator will be appointed. UCD Student Centre Manager and Project Co-ordinator Dominic O’Keeffe said: “Regarding the builder of the bar, it was disappointing to hear that news. It will in my estimation push the opening date back to the New Year. I will be more accurate when the Buildings Office concludes their work on the building contract.”