Gardaí shut down over 30 house parties near UL

ireland
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David Raleigh

UPDATED: 4.50pm

Gardaí shut down 35 student house parties and arrested five people as part of a policing plan around Freshers Week at the University of Limerick (UL).

The statistics were revealed at a Joint Policing Committee meeting in Limerick today.

Gardaí told the meeting of city and county councillors that they had closed down “35 house parties” off-campus in the Castletroy area, since last Sunday.

Gardaí said that they found “in excess of 30 people” at each of the 35 parties and that 70 on the spot ticket fines were issued, including 45 for alcohol consumption and 25 for illegal parking.

Five people were arrested for public order/trespass. Two of these were charged by gardaí and three were given a caution.

In total, gardaí conducted 52 extra proactive patrols in the area, which also resulted in three minor drug seizures.

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Thirty ASBO (Antisocial Behaviour Order) warning notices were issued during the week-long operation.

The head of the Limerick Garda Division, Chief Superintendent Gerry Roche said gardaí were working closely with UL in specifically focussing on house parties to try to encourage the public to adhere to public health guidelines around Covid-19.

Superintendent Brian Sugrue, Henry Street Garda Station, who led the operation, said gardaí were “trying to keep a lid on it”.

He said the President of UL, Kerstin Mey had accompanied gardaí on patrol to try to remind students of the importance of adhering to the public health guidelines.

In a statement on Friday, a spokesman for the UL President said Ms Mey “strongly urged students to understand their own individual roles in keeping our communities safe”.

“Professor Mey and members of UL’s senior leadership have engaged in nightly walking tours of local residential estates in conjunction with An Garda Síochána this week. This is being done to engage with students, educate them about public health guidelines and to stress a co-operative approach in protecting the community surrounding the campus in light of the situation with Covid-19.”

“Through its community liaison committee, UL has developed a community response plan with the gardaí to ensure that new and returning students can live and learn as safely as possible in the context of Covid-19.”

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“A co-ordinated plan of engagement and education has been adapted to ensure that UL staff and gardaí work together to reach as many students as possible who live on campus and off campus.”

The spokesman said UL had “allocated further resources to An Garda Síochána to increase its capacity to undertake community engagement activity over the course of the coming weeks”.

A “COVID-19 Student Charter” has been developed between UL, Limerick Institute of Technology, and Mary Immaculate college “to protect students and staff in each of the institutions and to make clear to students their personal responsibility in this global pandemic environment”.

Ms Mey’s spokesman reminded students that “action can be taken against [them] through the code of conduct who, by breaching public health guidelines, may be considered to have engaged in conduct that is harmful to others”.

“There is no set sanction within the code of conduct for any offence but penalties allowed within the code of conduct include monetary, academic, suspension and expulsion.”

During the first week of term, UL has “not yet processed any complaints that involve UL students who may have been in breach of the University’s code of conduct”, the spokesman said.

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