Category Archives: Radical History

UCD Ag Science Society (1976 – 1980)

Thanks to John for sending in these pictures. If you have any pictures or memorabilia from your time in UCD, send it to ucdhiddenhistory(at)gmail.com. Please!

A brief word from John on the background to the protest:

We called the demo because the UCD Authorities were slow in opening the ‘New’ Ag Block as they had promised. Due to that, 3rd & 4th year Ag students used to have most of their lectures in The Albert College (Now DCU) up until May 1979. The march left from The Albert, went down through O’Connell St past TCD, Leeson St , Ranelagh, Clonskeagh into Belfield in March 1979. The New Block opened in the Autumn of 1979. We qualified in 1980 and there was a large lack of jobs back then also

a) Cartoon from Feb. 1977. b) Invitation to AG Science Society Xmas party (n.d.)

a) Cartoon of Ag students singing in bar. b) Ag science society UCD membership card. c) Cartoon of student bar. d) AGS flyer for Wednesday dance. e) UCD Summer Exams 1980 notice

 

UCD SC flyer to welcome AG students to Belfield. They moved from Earlsfort Terrace in 1980.

February 1979 protest march.

 

Image of crowd at 1979 AGS protest march.

 

Report of march. (Student newspaper?)

The Irish Times. 21/02/79

Irish Press. 20/02/79

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Bread and Roses (Student Feminist Magazine, c. 1974)

Bread and Roses was a Women’s Lib. fanzine published by women in Belfield in the mid 1970s. It was a crudely designed, black and white, 18 page stapled zine.

The slogan “Bread and Roses” originated in a poem of that name by James Oppenheim, published in The American Magazine in December 1911, which attributed it to “the women in the West.” It is commonly associated with a textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts during January-March 1912, now often known as the “Bread and Roses strike”.

I’ve been passed on issues 2 and 3. I’ve uploaded issue 2 (see below) and will get around to issue 3 as soon as possible. I’m not sure how many issues were published altogether. If anyone has any other copies, please get in touch.

*CLICK ON THE FRONT COVER BELOW TO READ THE FULL MAGAZINE*

Bread and Roses, Number 2:

Men – Where Is Your Courage? – Eileen Lynch
Feminism And Socialism – Betty Purcell
Women And The Law – Paula Scully
When A Man Wants A Woman (Poem) – Dory Previn
Women Your Body Is Your Own – Carol Louthe
A Poem – Marian Stenning
Self-help Clinics – Rosina Auberting
A Report On The International Womens Congress – Marion Connolly

Bread and Roses, Issue 2. Front Cover.

Nelson’s Pillar, 1955.

In 1955 a group of UCD students occupied Nelson’s pillar and tried to melt the statue with homemade “flame throwers”.

More information can be found here.

UCD & The Spanish Civil War

In this instalment of UCD Hidden History, we look at two UCD students who fought on the anti–Fascist Republican side of the Spanish Civil War…

Charles Donnelly, who grew up in Tyrone, entered UCD in October 1931 at the age of 17, to study Logic, English, History and Irish as part of an Arts degree. Within a month, he had his first poem ‘Da Mihi’ (Give Me) published in Cothrom na Féinne, a UCD student magazine which shared its name with one of the college’s mottoes. He soon began writing regularly for Cothrom na Féinne, contributing articles on “politics, literary criticism and modern philosophy” .[1]

A year before Donnelly entered university, according to Joseph O’Connor; UCD’s Student Representative Council (SRC) was founded. (To the best of my knowledge, it was founded in 1910).

The Student Representative Council (SRC) of the time, reflecting the general mood of the country, was controlled by members of two ultra-Catholic and conservative student organisations – the Student Christian Movement and the Pro Fide group.

Charles Donnelly

Donnelly challenged them by helping to form an anti-Fascist left wing student group called The Student Vanguard. Its inaugural meeting was attacked by gang of Blueshirts. Donagh MacDonagh, son of Easter 1916 leader Thomas MacDonagh and classmate of Donnelly’s, who chaired the meeting, recalls that the “the trouble started fairly soon” with “private fights” kicking off all across the hall. MacDonagh “banged on the table but nobody took much notice”; in fact, “he admits that the noise increased considerably.”[2] It is not known to what extent the Student Vanguard was active on campus and what influence it gained amongst the college’s student body.

Earlsfort Terrace. c. 1930s

In 1934, while in his last year of college, Donnelly joined the Republican Congress and started a romantic relationship with another member, Cora Hughes. Hughes came from a well-respected republican family – her godfather was Eamon de Valera. She also had studied in UCD and became commander of the Cumann na mBan division on campus.[3] Hughes was jailed in September 1934 for her work in supporting rent strikes in Dublin.[4] Described as a “tireless housing activist”[5] she died tragically in 1940 after contacting TB in the slums.[6]

Donnelly failed his first year exams three times and eventually dropped out of college in the summer of 1934. He joined the International Brigades in 1936 in London and reached Spain in January 1937 to fight for the republicans against Franco’s Fascist counter-revolution. With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, he saw action at the Battle of Jarama. On the 27th February, a little more over a month since his arrival in Spain, Donnelly was cut down by enemy machine gun fire and killed. He was 23.

Charles Donnelly Plaque (Belfield, UCD)

On the eve of the 71st anniversary of his death, February 26 2008, Donnelly was commemorated with the unveiling of a plaque in Belfield, attended by 150 people. The commemoration, organised jointly by a group of UCD students and the Donnelly family, included a lecture by Gerald Dawe on Charlie Donnelly’s life and poetry. The plaque can be seen today in the UCD School of English, Drama & Film beside J206 in the Newman Building (Arts Block).

==

Frank Ryan entered UCD in September 1921 on a Limerick County Council scholarship[7] to study Celtic Studies, “an amalgam of Irish Literature and language, history and culture”[8] He joined the IRA officers’ training corps in UCD in the summer of 1922.[9]

Ryan was back home in Elton, Limerick on his summer holidays when the Four Courts were attacked, sparking the Civil War. He was attached to the East Limerick Brigade of the IRA and was injured by Free State soldiers during a firefight.[10] He was interned at Hare Park in the Curragh where he edited an Irish journal called An Giorrfhiodh. The first issue came out in June 1923. Ryan had a column in the journal called Piobaire an Bhrianaigh which was later republished in An Reult, the journal of UCD’s An Cumann Gaedhealach, which Ryan himself edited in 1924-5.

Frank Ryan

Released from prison in November 1923, Ryan returned to UCD. In 1924, he won An Cumann Gaedhealach’s gold medal for oratory, presented to him by An Craoibhin Aoibhinn, Dr. Douglas Hyde (who was later to become Ireland’s first President). From 1924-5, Ryan was also reachtaire or director of Cumann Liteartha na Gaedhilge.

He was also involved in the founding of the University’s first Republican Club. Their main activities were described as “fund-raising and nominating republican candidates for the parliamentary seats allocated to the universities”.[11] The club pressed UCD authorities to erect a memorial to Kevin Barry, another UCD alumnus. The university gave in after a decade of campaigning. It has been said that the stained glass window dedicated to Barry, which was erected in 1934, owes much to Ryan’s agitation.

Frank Ryan, 1933

Ryan recruited 80 men into the Connolly Column of the 15th International Brigade to fight for Republican Spain. He fought bravely at the Battle of Jarama and rose to become brigadier of the Lincoln-Washington Brigade. He was captured by Italian troops in 1938 and sentenced to 30 years of hard labour. After being released into the hands of German authorities in 1940, he spent the last four years of his life in Germany. He died of pneumonia in Dresden in 1944.

Finally, if you know of any other Irish volunteers who fought in The Spanish Civil War (on either side) and had connections with UCD, please get in touch.

(Note – This article relates only to the time Donnelly and Ryan were in UCD. For more information on Donnelly, I recommend Even The Olives Are Bleeding by Joseph O’Connor.

Further information on Ryan can be found in Adrian Hoar’s In green and red: the Lives of Frank Ryan and in Séan Cronin’s Frank Ryan: the search for the Republic.

For more information on the Irish who fought in the Spanish Civil War, try The Irish and the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39: crusades in conflict by R. A. Stradling and Irish Politics and the Spanish Civil War by Fearghal McGarry. Ciaran Crossey has an excellent, updated online resource for all things concerned with Ireland and The Spanish Civil War – http://irelandscw.com/ )

—-

[1] Joseph O’Connor, Even the Olives are bleeding, the life and times of Charles Donnelly (Dublin, 1992), x
[2] Donagh MacDonagh, Charles Donnelly, Irish Times, March 15 1941.
[3] Brian Hanley, The IRA, 1926-1936 (Four Courts Press, 2002), 103.
[4] Margaret Ward, Unmanageable revolutionaries: women and Irish nationalism (Pluto Press, 1983), 232.
[5] Donal Ó Drisceoil, Peadar O’Donnell (Cork University Press, 2001), 86.
[6] TDorothy Bell, Missing pieces: women in Irish History, Volume 1 (Irish Feminist Information Publications, 1983), 30.
[7] Seán Cronin, Frank Ryan: the search for The Republic (1980), 19.
[8] Adrian Hoar, In green and red: the lives of Frank Ryan, (2004), 19.
[9] Croinn, Frank Ryan, 20.
[10] Croinn, Frank Ryan, 24.
[11] Croinn, Frank Ryan, 30.

7. Charles Haughey

A look at Charles Haughey, a former UCD student and his role at both starting and attracting trouble.

Many people may be aware that Charles Haughey, former Fianna Fail leader and three times Taoiseach attended UCD. However what is more intriguing and less well known is that as a UCD student he instigated a riot during Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) celebrations in 1945 in Dublin’s City Centre [1] [2]and as Taoiseach his visit to Belfield in 1989 was marred by disturbances by protesting U.C.D. students. [3] [4] In this issue of Hidden History, we look at this controversial UCD alumnus and his role at both starting and attracting trouble.

On May 7th 1945, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) students staged “an impromptu celebration” after the BBC announced the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. The Irish Times reported that fifty students appeared on the roof over the main entrance, waving Union Jacks and singing “God Save the Queen”, “Rule Britannia” and the French national anthem. These proceeding attracted hundreds of onlookers and members of the public. This crowd increased when the Trinity students hosted a Union Jack, a Red Flag, the French tricolour and, at the very bottom of the mast, an Irish tricolour.

TCD students on roof. Placement of Irish tricolour on bottom of mast trigerred the trouble.

TCD students on roof. Placement of Irish tricolour on bottom of mast trigerred the trouble.

A section of the crowd in and around College Green took exception to the position of the Irish flag and made three attempts to break into the University. They rushed the front gates and made it through the main entrance but were stopped by a large number of Gardai from entering the College courtyard. In reaction, Trinity students took down the Irish flag, set it on fire and threw it from the roof.

News of this commotion and the actions of the Trinity students reached students in UCD who were then based less than ten minutes away in Earlsfort Terrace (where the National Concert Hall is now). UCD Commerce student Charles Haughey organised a counter demonstration and led a march of UCD students, some bearing Nazi swastika flags, to Trinity. It is then widely believed that Haughey with a friend, Seamus Sorohan, who was then a law student and later became a barrister, ripped down a Union Jack flag that was hanging on a lamppost at the bottom of Grafton Street and proceeded to burn it. [5]

Then, according to reports this large crowd of up to a thousand young men marched up to the corner of Middle Abbey Street where they held a public meeting. A man, who described himself as a student of the National University, said they did not object much to the Union Jack being hoist by Trinity College, “because they all knew the outlook of these people” but they objected strongly to a number of flags being hoist over Trinity with the Irish Tricolour “insultingly on the bottom”. The group then marched to Trinity College headed by a “young man waving a large tricolour hoisted on the shoulders of comrades”. Though almost impossible to prove now both these references of a “student” and “young man waving a tricolour” may be of Haughey. At reaching Trinity, several young men “scrambled up on the railings” carrying Irish flags and were partly across when a force of Garda drew their batons and attacked the students. There were three or four baton charges before “the vicinity of the College was cleared”. Twelve people had to be treated at Mercer’s Hospital for slight injuries. A section of the crowd broke away and later stoned the residence of the British representative and the offices of the United States Consul-General. [6]

Fast forward to May 1989. Charles Haughey as Taoiseach is visiting the UCD Belfield Campus to lay the foundation stone for a new £8 million student residence. His presence on campus prompts a protest of up to a hundred students.

Scuffles between students and police

Scuffles between students and police

In conversation this week Andrew Fleming [7] who was present that day, stated that the protest was against “education cuts and an increase in tuition fees” which were taking place against a backdrop of a severe economic recession. (Sound familiar!) Fleming goes on to remark that at the time “Haughey was telling us we all had to tighten our belts” while, as it turned out he was “buying himself 700 pound shirts in Paris”.

The Irish Times reports that the “Gardai moved in to push students out of (Haughey’s) path” and were forced to form a protective barrier around him.

Police protecting Haughey

Police protecting Haughey

Students chanting “Education, not emigration” sat on the road leading from the site, blocking the Taoiseach’s car from leaving. The police dragged away those students involved in the sit-down protest and the Taoiseach’s driver took an alternative route, driving at high speed and pursued by students.

Sit-down protest by students broken up

Sit-down protest by students broken up

When questioned by journalists over the students’ actions, Haughey quipped that “We did it better in my day”

Loathed by many, adored by few, Charles Haughey remains a contentious figure in UCD’s history. His name remains engraved on the Commerce & Economics Society (C&E) board as auditor of their 1945-6 session despite the best efforts of students to scrape it off.

[1] Anon, “Surrender”, The Irish Independent, May 8, 1945.
[2] Anon, “Batton Charges in Dublin”, The Irish Times, May 8, 1945.
[3] John Walshe, “’We did it better in my day’ quips Taoiseach”, The Irish Independent, May 30, 1989.
[4] Maol Muire Tynan, “Huaghey braves protests at UCD campus”, The Irish Times, May 30, 1989.
[5] Bruce Arnold, Haughey: His Life and Unlucky Deeds, 1993, London: Harper Collins: 14
[6] T.Ryle Dwyer, Charlie, 1987, Dublin: Gill and Macmillan: 7
[7] Fleming, Andrew, 2009, email to author, 8 April 2009

5. The Battle of Belfield 1975

Belfield’s most serious political disturbance to date.

UCD’s ‘official’ history is detailed in the President’s Office section of the UCD website. Presented as a timeline, it deals only with formal, ceremonious events such as the completion of the Water Tower in 1972 or the transfer of the Agriculture faculty to Belfield in 1979. In doing so, it ignores UCD’s rich social, often radical, history. Many of these stories are today just echoes and shadows around Belfield campus with no plaques to mark their importance.

One event that has been long overlooked is the so-called ‘Battle of Belfield’, a riot that saw UCD students and members of the Gardai fight pitched battles up and down the concourse outside the Arts Block and restaurant. [1] [2] It was Belfield’s most serious political disturbance to date.

In January 1975, Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave visited Belfield to have lunch with the college’s president Dr. Thomas Murphy, the US Ambassador to Ireland Mr. John D. Moore and an American multi – millionaire businessman, Mr. Edward Ball, who was in UCD to present a cheque of $100,000 (£42,000) towards the cost of financing a new Chair of American History. Ball, a descendant of the first United States president, George Washington, made the presentation on behalf of the Alfred I. duPont Foundation of which he was a Director.

From left: Mr. John Berlin (Assoiciate of Mr. Ball), Dr. Murphy (UCD President), Mr. Ball, Mr. John D. Moore (American Ambassador) and Mr. Kevin Mallen (American Irish Foundation)

From left: Mr. John Berlin (Assoiciate of Mr. Ball), Dr. Murphy (UCD President), Mr. Ball, Mr. John D. Moore (American Ambassador) and Mr. Kevin Mallen (American Irish Foundation)

UCD’s Students’ Representative Council (predecessor to the Students Union) decided to picket the function “in protest at the proposed fifty per cent increase in fees in the university and cutbacks in maintenance and tuition” recently implemented by authorities. The UCD Republican Club and other students saw the visit of the Taosieach as an opportune moment to also protest about wider issues such as the “failure to grant political status to prisoners in this country.”

Betty Purcell, who was Vice-President of the Student’s Representative Council at the time, remembers that students “gathered on the steps of the Arts building and (outside the) canteen”. [3] While student protests in Belfield were fairly common, many students were shocked by the numbers of Special Branch men policing the demonstration.

As The Irish Times reported, the first sign of trouble came when the Special Branch “discovered that the tyres of two of their cars had been deflated”. In response, they called for Gardai reinforcements from Donnybrook station. Purcell feels that, in general, the protest was all in “fairly good spirits until there was an attempt to arrest some students, which caused people to become quite angry and upset.”

Gardai trying to arrest a student

Gardai trying to arrest a student

An attempt to overturn an unattended Special Branch car led to a Garda baton charge. Three female students were injured in what an SRC statement described as an “indiscriminate” attack.

Running battles between police and students on main concourse

Running battles between police and students on main concourse

Running scuffles led to at least one garda being injured and requiring treatment for arm injuries in nearby St. Vincent’s Hospital.

Injured garda

Injured garda

The Irish Times accounts how the Taoiseach had to finish up his lunch early to be “led out a back door and driven away in a private car”.

An SRC statement which was released later that evening called the presence of Gardai on campus “a challenge to academic freedom … which only inflamed the situation” and dryly noted that “if the Taoiseach feels he needs an escort everywhere he goes, he should refrain from making public appearances”.

Purcell, now a television producer in RTÉ, felt that the altercation with the police “did serve to radicalise many students who up to that day would have naturally regarded the Gardai as a friendly force”. College Authorities tried to suspend individual students for their involvement in the protests but after interventions from the Student Representative Council this was not pursued.

Four days after the riot, 300 students protested against the presence of Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Garret Fitzgerald, who was in UCD to attend a meeting of the university’s Fine Gael Cumann. Over a hundred students entered the room to ask the Minister questions about the Government’s recent proposals for higher education and the UCD authorities’ recent warning of a possible 50% increase in fees. [4] A day later, 50 students occupied the Administration Building for over 12 hours to protest against the threatened fees increase. [5]

You’re not likely to find these events or any like them in the ‘official’ account of the history of our college. It’s up to us to collate and retell them.

[1]Anon, “Gardai and students in clash at U.C.D.”, The Irish Times, February 1, 1975
[2]Anon, “Students’ demo at U.C.D.”, The Irish Independent, February 1, 1975.
[3]Percell, Betty, 2009, Email to author, 28 January 2009.
[4]John Armstrong, “Fitzgerald heckled as 300 picket U.C.D. visit”, The Irish Times, February 4, 1975.
[5]Anon, “Students occupy U.C.D. building in fees protest”, The Irish Times, February 5, 1975.

1. The move to Belfield and the ‘Gentle Revolution’.

A brief overview of UCD student unrest and radicalism from 1968-70

UCD purchased Belfield House in December 1933 [1]and between 1948-58 acquired a number of adjoining properties with the intention of creating a new campus to relieve the chronically overcrowded Earlsfort Terrace. UCD’s student population had expanded from little over 2,000 in 1939 to over 10,000 in 1969.[2] Most of these were housed in the half-completed Earlsfort Terrace building, which, even had it been finished, was intended for only 1,000 students.[3]

As early as 1963, concerns were raised over the planning of the move to Belfield. The Irish Times wrote that “the prospect of finding lodging for students (was) causing more and more concern …The area is not one in which students will easily find places to stay, since most of the houses there are designed as family homes’’. [4] However, building went ahead and in 1964 Science became the first Faculty to relocate to Belfield. The Irish Times described their new facilities as “severely functional” with “clean planning, spaciousness and a clever use of colour…relieving the eye of monotony”. [5]

In January 1965, U.C.D. President Dr. Jeremiah Hogan speaking at the conferring of degrees admitted that “the transfer of Arts would be the central and most complex operation”.[6]of the relocation.

According to the Irish Times’ UCD Correspondent the new restaurant in the Science building in Belfield was proving “insufficient to meet demands’’.[7] When food prices then rose by 20%, students threatened a sit-in but this was called off at the last minute.

A year later it was discovered that the new Belfield Arts block would “be too small to cope adequately with the projected number of students availing of it in the early 1970s’’.[8] In February 1968, the Minister for Education Donogh O’Malley met representatives of the U.C.D. Students’ Representative Council (SRC) who were anxious that the students’ building in Belfield be completed before the proposed Arts faculty move in 1969. [9]

Meanwhile, conditions in Earlsfort Terrace were worsening and there were murmurs of unrest. In June 1968, medical students held a sit-in in the Medical Library demanding that it be kept open over the summer months. Students calling for longer opening hours also occupied the Arts Library.

Not to be outdone, Science students in Belfield threatened direct action unless improved library hours were negotiated. In October of that year, Third Year Chemistry students boycotted lectures and “rearranged their seating-plan in lecture theatres to frustrate roll call”. This protest was against what one student described as the ”fact that out here in Belfield the methods are more suited to a primary school than to a university”.[10]

In Belfield, the Arts building was finally finished in October 1968 after a 15 month project costing £IR 1.6 million.[11]

On the 8th of November 1968, more than 2,500 thousand students occupied The Great Hall in Earslfort Terrace for over two hours in protest against the college authorities’ refusal to allow a ‘teach-in’.[12] [13]

1968 UCD (Earsfort Terrace) Student Meeting

Student Meeting (November 1968, Great Hall, Earlsfort Terrace)

On Friday 29th November over 120 architecture students held a sit-in for a day and a half to “draw attention … (to) a fall in standards”. at the college[14] Just over a week later, 5,000 students marched to the Dail over the issue of grants.

In December, a recently formed group, Students for Democratic Action (SDA) held a 400 hundred strong ‘sit-down’ protest outside a meeting of the Academic Council.[15] They were protesting against the Council’s refusal to recognise the Republican Club as a society. The council postponed the meeting with some members managing to leave by the door, others by the window. The SDA then promptly decided that the Academic Council did not merit the authority to recognise the Republican Club. They followed this by declaring their group the real and legitimate Academic Council, voting overwhelming to recognise the Republicans.

In January 1969, the SRC issued a manifesto criticising what is described as the apparent lack of planning and consultation on library facilities at Belfield.

In early February 1969, it was announced in The Irish Times that Belfield would “not posses a library block (until) October 1970’’. Further still, the student’s union building would not be constructed until 1971.[16]

On Wednesday, 26th of February 1969, the SDA organised a mass meeting. It was resolved that there would be no move to Belfield until (i) full library services were available; (ii) that the Governing Body should be abolished; (iii) that a 50-50 staff / student committee should be set up to govern the college; (iv) and that students should occupy the administration building as soon as the meeting ended.

Just after lunchtime, over 140 students occupied three rooms of the administrative wing of the college’s building at Earlsfort Terrace. They barricaded the doors and remained overnight.

Mass Meeting of Students in Earlsfort Terrace's Great Hall

Student Meeting (February 1969, Great Hall, Earlsfort Terrace)

The students were protesting against what The Irish Times described as the “the proposed move of the university to Belfield…which they claim has been poorly planned and may require students to work under inadequate circumstances”.[17] The occupiers used a loud speaker system to address fellow students and distributed leaflets from the ”liberated zone of UCD’‘ printed on the ”college duplicating service” which was in one of the occupied rooms.[18] The Irish Independent proclaimed that the “black flag of anarchy (now flies) over U.C.D.”.[19]

Sign on door reads 'You are now entering the liberated zone of UCD'

Occupation: Sign on door reads 'You are now entering the liberated zone of UCD'

The occupation ended at 11pm the next day. The decision was taken after a meeting of several thousand students in the Great Hall in Earslfort Terrace. The students voiced their support of the occupation but called for it to end.

Arising out of the occupation and subsequent mass meeting, UCD students voted on three proposals, (a) that the Governing Body be reformed so as to delegate effective power to joint committees of staff and of students democratically elected; (b) that such a joint staff-student committee be set up to make all decisions pertinent to the move to Belfield; and that no decision should be made on the move without adequate consultation with the whole body of staff and students, whose directions they should obey; (c) that no student should be victimized for the occupation.

The motions were passed at a mass meeting held by over 5,000 students in the Great Hall on March 5th 1969. It also decided to boycott normal lectures from 9am the next morning, and to replace them with a “marathon seminar on the topic of a ‘free university’ ”.[20] A meeting of 250 members of staff registered their “general goodwill”towards the students.

Mass Student Meeting, March 1969 in Great Hall, Earslfort Terrace.

Student Meeting (March 1969, Great Hall, Earslfort Terrace).

Out in Belfield, a mass meeting of several hundred students issued their support of the actions and resolutions of the ‘teach in’ in Earlsfort Terrace. The ‘teach-in’ comprised of two large meetings in the Great Hall during the morning and afternoon attended by over 2,000 students in each case. These took place simultaneously throughout the College with debates on the topics (a) the internal structure of the university: (b) the university in society and (c) the problems of society.

Following these events, meetings were held between representatives of the student body and the Academic Staff Association (ASA) to help further proposals for the restructuring of the college.[21][22]Soon after, authorities gave in to student demands and announced that UCD students were to have the first Students’ Union in the country.[23] Throughout the Easter break, students and staff held several meetings to progress their aim of a “free university”.[24]

In May, 250 students occupied the administration building “in protest at against certain proposals in the Academic Council’s committee of Inquiry report” which included recommendations that students should be asked to sign a declaration of obedience annually. The student protest began with a public meeting at lunch hour organized by the SRC. Students then invaded three offices of the administration wing “using a mop as a battering ram to smash two doors” and immediately elected a 10-man action committee.[25] The occupation prompted the college to set up a committee to take disciplinary action against students involved. The SRC and SDA released statements declaring that they would ignore this new body.[26] In the end, nine students were summoned to appear before the committee where they were each given a formal warning that if they partook in similar behaviour again they would expose themselves to “permanent expulsion from the college”. [27]

The Arts block was finally opened in September 1970, and soon become the home of 5,000 Arts students.[28] Scuffles broke out during the ceremony between Maoist protesters and Gardai.[29]

Gardai restrain two Maosist protesters

Gardai restrain two Maoist protesters during Arts Block opening protests

The full history of the student radicalism in UCD in the late 1960s is yet to be written. Let this be a start.

[1] University College Dublin (UCD), UCD 150 Year Celebration. Available: http://www.ucd.ie/150/sport.htm [Accessed: 5 February 2009]
[2] Donal McCartney, UCD: A National Idea, The History of University College, Dublin (Dublin, 1999), 345.
[3] ibid
[4]Irish Times Reporter, “Students Again On The Hunt For “Digs”, The Irish Times, September 11, 1963.
[5]A Special Correspondent, “Belfield: The Stimulating Prospect”, The Irish Times, September 23, 1964.
[6]President Dr. Jeremiah Hogan, “Progress At Belfield Outlined By Hogan”, The Irish Times, January 18, 1965.
[7]U.C.D. Correspondent, “Students Will Fight Fee Increase”, The Irish Times, December 24, 1966.
[8]UCD Correspondent, “In The Universities”, The Irish Times, May 31, 1967.
[9]Irish Times Reporter, “Students and O’Malley have talks”, The Irish Times, February 16, 1968.
[10]Irish Times Reporter, “Threat of Sit In at Belfield”, The Irish Times, October 30, 1968.
[11]Irish Times Reporter, “New Arts Building At Belfield”, The Irish Times, October 17, 1968.
[12]Education Correspondent, “U.C.D. “Sit-In” Was Good-Humored”, The Irish Times, November 9, 1968
[13]Anon, “Students take over hall at U.C.D”, The Irish Independent, November 9, 1968.
[14]Irish Times Reporter, “U.C.D. Students On 30-Hour Sit-In”, The Irish Times, November 30, 1968.
[15]Anon, “Students stage protest at U.C.D. council”, The Irish Times, December 13, 1968.
[16]Anon, “U.C.D. Notes”, The Irish Times, February 5, 1969.
[17]Irish Times Reporter, “Students Barricade U.C.D. Rooms”, The Irish Times, February 27, 1969.
[18]ibid
[19]Irish Independent Reporter, “60 students ‘barricade in’ at U.C.D.”, The Irish Independent, February 27, 1969.
[20]Anon, “Many staff join U.C.D. students in protest”, The Irish Times, March 7, 1969.
[21]Irish Times Reporter, “U.C.D. staff to meet students”, The Irish Times, March 14, 1969.
[22]Anon, “U.C.D. staff in favour of college reforms”, The Irish Times, March 20, 1969.
[23]Irish Times Reporter, “More powers for students at U.C.D.”, The Irish Times, March 20, 1969.
[24]Irish Times Reporter, “Hopeful start to U.C.D. discussions”, The Irish Times, April 18, 1969.
[25]Anon, “Campaign of protest in U.C.D.”, The Irish Times, May 20, 1969.
[26]Anon, “Student to ignore new committee”, The Irish Times, May 24, 1969.
[27]Anon, “U.C.D. council accepts finding on students”, The Irish Times, June 27, 1969.
[28]Michael Henry, “President opens U.C.D. Arts Block”, The Irish Times, September 30, 1970.
[29]Anon, “Protesters tangle with gardai”, The Irish Independent, September 30, 1970.