Amid pressure, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has clarified it position on the presence of Gardaí at Trinity Ball, and the subsequent arrest of 26 students, pointing to conditions attached to the licensing of the event.
According to a statement on the Trinity Ents Facebook page, “all events of the magnitude and scale of the Trinity Ball require the granting of a licence by Dublin City Council, as per the Planning and Development Act 2000. Like all events with such a licence, the Gardaí have the power and authority to police it as they wish. Without this licence and agreement, there can be NO Trinity Ball.”
The statement comes as undercover Gardaí arrested 26 suspects at Trinity Ball. €1,400 worth of drugs were seized by officers, including cocaine, MDMA, and Ketamine.
TCDSU is mandated to support the decriminalisation of drugs in a policy passed during the 2016/17 academic year, which has been a point of contention on social media since the Ball. The statement notes: “TCDSU supports the decriminalisation of drugs, and the promotion of harm reduction campaigns, as has been evident at events throughout the past number of years. The Ball, however, is still subject to the laws and regulations as set out by the Oireachtas.”
The statement continued: “Student safety is always a priority, and this year we conducted a variety of methods to raise awareness about harm reduction in the lead up to the Ball. In conjunction with the Health Service Executive (HSE), a stand was placed in Goldsmith during ticket collection, and material was circulated online in order to promote a healthy attitude and relationship with drugs. Recognising that we cannot prevent attendees of the Ball from taking illicit substances, this information is provided to reduce potential harm.”
“For the past number of years, we have come under immense pressure to allow the use of sniffer dogs on the night of the Ball. Recognising that this would encourage dangerous behaviours, we have fought for a harm reduction approach to managing this issue at the Ball.”