The Junior Common Room committee have dismissed reports that the cancellation of venues during their “3 Night Stand” was as a result of a drinking holiday they took two days before the “Stand” began.
The JCR declined to comment on the matter at first, as they felt, according to JCR Ents Officer Will Courtney, “we’re aware that we’re not going to come out of this very well.” This comes in the wake of promoter Ed O’Riordan blaming the cancellation of events he’d organised, on “incompetence” and “poor communication” among the JCR Officers. Courtney said that he would only comment after he had spoken to the entire committee. Having done this, the committee made a u-turn and released a brief press release.
The press release sent by President Richard Varini read that the Committee had only found out about the price quoted by promoter Ed O’Riordan for the “Stand” on Friday afternoon and it was at this point decided that the price was too high.
O’Riordan has since dismissed this allegation and has said “the JCR didn’t tell each other the costs until the day, we discussed it with them a couple of days before the event”. O’Riordan claims to have tried to get in contact with the committee but says that as they were “all away on their free, self-described “pissup” in Newcastle the week before the residents arrived” and so they were “uncontactable”. The JCR do not dispute the fact that they were out of the country up until Tuesday, although admitted when pressed, that it was actually in fact Wednesday. O’Riordan declined to comment on whether he believed the JCR had done enough in preparation for Freshers’ Week.
Varini has claimed that the committee “only found out during the afternoon on Friday that we had to pay a figure that we deemed far too much. So we cancelled the club and arranged an alternative venue ourselves”. O’Riordan, however, has since refutted this claim and says the committee “okayed them, then cancelled last minute”.
On Friday night, Courtney informed halls students that there’d been a change of plan. According to a student who was at the food and drinks reception on Friday night, “Will Courtney said that our tickets were wrong and that we were going to 21 instead. I asked him why and he said the JCR budget couldn’t afford Basebar. Apparently Basebar wanted us all to pay in but 21 were letting us in for free”. When O’Riordan was asked whether the club was free, he too said “no, it wasn’t free”.
However when asked about the extra fee the JCR alleged they were being charged, the manager of Base Bar replied surprised, “no that’s a lie, the club was free in. We were only due to get commission from the bar.”
When Courtney was asked if he’d spoken to Basebar he replied “yes” then “no” and said it was all “a bit confusing” as to when he spoke to them.
When the bar was asked if they had been contacted by the committee, the manager replied that they’d “called me to say they’d had a row with Ed and wouldn’t be coming that night”. When asked if he knew what the row was over, the manager replied that he thought it was over money.
It has been admitted by O’Riordan that it was he who paid the cancellation fee which is reveals was so large “it pains” him to think about. Asked why he paid the cancellation fee and not the JCR, O’Riordan said “I knew I wouldn’t get the money out of them”.
When asked as to whether the price he was charging the JCR for his services was higher than it should have been, O’Riordan replied that he’d provided “a good service, good marketing and great drink prices” so he didn’t think so. He said that all of his costs had been put together and agreed by the Ents Officer. The costs included champagne for the entire JCR committee.
When O’Riordan was asked as to why the committee would “ok” the costs then cancel them, he replied “the JCR Ents Officer okayed the costs on our side, but the President had already okayed purchasing pizza and beer, so they couldn’t afford both. The cancellation was due to poor communication and incompetence on the JCR committee, mainly due to their free trip in Newcastle when they were uncontactable.”
When asked if he felt the cancellation was in retaliation to last years disputes with the JCR (O’Riordan was locked in halls by ex-JCR Ents Officer Amy Dunne), O’Riordan replied “if they were trying to screw me over, they did an awfully good job”.
The JCR failed to comment on allegations that they had inadequately prepared for Fresher’s Week and were forced to bring in O’Riordan to organise an event at the last minute. They also failed to comment on whether O’Riordan’s heightened price had been due to the lateness of their planning.
When asked for his comment on the situation, SU Ents Officer Mick Bermingham said that as far as he was aware, this “unfortunate” event had come about “as a result of time constraints particular to this case”. He did however warn students of the “difficulties” of event organisation and offered advice to students running events.