Ents Race: Peadar Walsh promises accessibility and support for societies as the “life-blood” of college

JCR Ents officer hopes to organise a intervarsity boycott on inaccessible venues within Dublin in an effort to improve accessibility and accountability

Peadar Walsh, a senior freshman in computer science, linguistics and French, is the sole candidate for this year’s Ents race. Walsh, who hails from Mayo, serves as the current JCR Ents officer and is an active participant in the DUDJ society. 

Speaking with Trinity News, Walsh shared that he has extensive experience with event planning stemming back to secondary school when he got involved in DJing and ran teenage discos. “I always got satisfaction from running events, later when I was in Leaving Cert I got involved in things like rag week and college Christmas Day and that got me involved in [events] of a bigger scale and I got to know more people.”

“I want to do Trinity Ents as a whole because I get great satisfaction out of this job but there are big limitations on the time it can take up in my own life. I’m obviously a full-time student myself and I work on the weekends so that makes it very difficult. With Trinity Ents, with your full time [role] being just events, sounds like an absolute dream to me. So yeah I’m definitely delighted to be running for this position.”

 Assuming the role of JCR Ents officer at the beginning of the academic year, Walsh says the position has made him far more open minded regarding the events he organises. “When I came to Dublin I was worried that I wouldn’t get the same [event-planning] opportunities as I did back home. Getting involved in JCR Ents I have really found great experience in trying to make events for people, regardless of what kind it is, because you have to cater to everyone”. Walsh also credits the role for helping him exercise self-accountability and management skills.

“When you’re responsible for a thousand students in this college accommodation and if the events aren’t good I might be the reason they don’t make friends here so I’ve definitely had to hold myself accountable”

Improving student welfare is a key aspect of Walsh’s campaign manifesto. He looks to collaborate with event security to implement crowd control strategies during Trinity Ball, following complaints made by attendees at the most recent ball that crowds, particularly by the main stage, were unsafe and resulted in minor injuries. He suggests a barrier to divide the crowd that would operate on “one in one out basis”. “That could make a dramatic difference to the safety of the event” he noted. 

The second year student also hopes to offer non-mandatory welfare training for all members of the Ents committee if elected. 

“I’d never make anything mandatory for the Ents committee but I do hope that anybody who does want to get involved with the Ents committee that they’d want to be better equipped to deal with problems that arise. So I think it’s no harm to offer [welfare training] to people. I see the kind of work that the JCR Trinity welfare team do on nights out and it makes a massive difference in how people feel going to the club nights in general and doing different things. So I’d love to kind of reciprocate some of that with Trinity Ents.”

Walsh also expressed a desire to improve accessibility of events for students with disabilities. His manifesto outlines a proposal to collaborate with Ents officers of other universities in Dublin to call for more venues in the city to be fully accessible. He noted that lack of accessibility within certain venues is a challenge he faces as JCR Ents officer

“A lot of business our main venues get are from universities. If I can coordinate with say UCD, DCU, TUD, IADT, all these colleges around Dublin and basically say we are not going to tolerate venues just getting away with being inaccessible. If we have to, we may have to boycott them until they provide the necessary options. It’s not going to be any good if it’s just us, it has to be a collective thing, that’s why I said it has to be from everyone in that way. Because every college has the same accessibility needs and every college has people that they need to cater for. And I think in this day and age with the amount of money venues are making off our events, there’s no reason why we can’t have accessible options.” 

“This would be something that would be put forward over the summer and I would coordinate as soon as possible because I don’t want a situation I can’t control next year because there’s no accessibility option there”

Walsh has additionally suggested ideas to improve the organisation of society events on campus. He aims to make the “resources of Trinity Ents available to all societies” and hopes to establish a network between him and all the respective society Ents officers, in effort to improve society inter-collaboration and society participation amongst students. 

“I think societies are probably the lifeblood of college. I want to coordinate with all the society’s events officers that we can have some sort of weekly schedule or some sort of organisation. Because at the moment, not that it’s all over the place but there’s a lot of conflict between different societies. I just think societies’ own resources should not be used up from running events. Societies have things that they do anyways that are integral to their identity. If I’m a Sabbat for a year and I can help you organise an event and give you my input or expertise around venues, then I want to make that available to everyone, regardless of [society] size.”

The current JCR Ents officer also outlines in his manifesto that he would like for Trinity Ents to organise more large-scale events outside of the traditional club nights. 

“We need to move away from this idea that we need a monthly club night. We’re not going to be able to compete with the likes of Dicey’s, Copper’s, Flannery’s, particularly during Freshers. We’re nearly wasting resources at this point. We need to start doing more unique events, that aren’t necessarily club nights. Things like a large-scale bingo loco or a college-wide Take Me Out, or events that are intervarsity with UCD or DCU. I think that could be massive for us when trying to get attendance for events. People want to meet new people at events.I think that’d be huge for us to get coordinating with other colleges. I think resources could be better utilised by supporting societies to organise their own club nights and they can have their own spin on it as well”

When asked if he would make any improvements to the work of the current Ents committee, Walsh said he would like to see the social media presence of Trinity Ents be improved

“I think Olivia Orr (current SU Ents Officer) has done a fantastic job. Though I definitely think in terms of social media, the Trinity Ents page, we could get far more engagement. If the PRO went through social media training, I think that would make my role a lot easier because when it comes to events like this, it’s all about this awareness you build around yourself, that’s something I’ve learned from JCR and without proper media training that can be very difficult.”

When questioned about Trinity Ball and whether he’d be able to keep it being held on campus like Orr managed this year, Walsh assured that regardless of the uncertainty surrounding the event’s future venue, “if Olivia was able to [keep it on campus], then I’m sure I’ll be able to do it too if it comes to it.”

Concluding the interview, Walsh admitted a potential weakness for him in the role is public speaking.

“I’m a very nervous public speaker, that’s something I have to get over. So I say right now that would be the most challenging thing for me.”

Faye Madden

Faye Madden is an Assistant News Editor for the 69th volume of Trinity News.