Comment & Analysis
Dec 10, 2017

Carton House Debacle, Iveagh Grounds Purchase, Staff Engagement


Trinity’s student societies can add an 18th-century Palladian manor house in Maynooth to the long list of venues in Ireland that will never again host one of their events, following Monday’s Trinity Law Society debacle, which saw Carton House Hotel abruptly stop serving alcohol long before the evening was supposed to end. It was, of course, surprising to no-one except the management of Carton House Hotel that students got a bit too sloshed for the elegance of this stately home – but it will nonetheless further complicate the efforts of societies, who increasingly have to look beyond the county of Dublin for their nights of “drinking, dancing and damn good festive times”.

Now that, after three years of negotiations, Trinity’s purchase of the Iveagh Grounds sports facility in Drimnagh is complete, College has no excuse but to properly engage with the GAU, the current occupants of the facility. Trinity’s communication with the GAU has been so dreadful that the club has had to confront the possibility of a severely strained financial future. Even in late November, the GAU was unaware of when Trinity planned to move in and what the College actually wanted to do with the grounds – a sombre scenario for a club that has played host to local sport in Dublin for 90 years.

Students want to interact with staff. That’s obvious. They come to university not just to learn, but to be nurtured. That’s why the results of the Irish Survey of Student Engagement are so worrying. Sure, academics are faced with more pressure than ever – look again at Ireland’s rising staff-student ratio – but universities need to rethink student engagement, even if on a budget. Things like “graduate attributes” don’t develop organically: if universities want students they can be proud of, staff need to realise teaching is only one part of their job.