Cork college considering student fines to tackle issue of anti-social behaviour

Cork college considering student fines to tackle issue of anti-social behaviour

Authorities at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) are considering the introduction of student fines as part of a new regime to tackle drink or drug-fuelled anti-social behaviour involving its students.

The news emerged after residents living near UCC spoke out about scenes of drunken chaos as hundreds of third level students converged on suburban pubs in the area for the unofficial student-organised ‘Christmas Day’ celebrations.

A post earlier this month on CIT’s Student Union Facebook page advised students that the event would take place last Thursday.

The post urged students to get the message to "as many class group chats as possible", and concluded: “This is what we trained for”.

It was signed off: “As you were, Aaron Buckley”. Mr Buckley is president of the CIT Students’ Union.

The post is no longer visible on the Facebook page. Mr Buckley was not available for comment and calls to the students’ union office went unanswered.

Residents living around UCC said students were gathering in student houses and apartment complexes in neighbourhoods close to UCC from 11am on Thursday.

By mid-afternoon, there were long queues outside suburban pubs and off-licences as some house and apartment parties spilled onto the streets.

There were reports of up to 100 people attending one house party, which continued into the early hours of the morning, and further reports of large crowds of students gathering outside the new student apartment complex on Western Rd.

There were complaints at rush-hour as hordes of drunken students were seen staggering in and out of traffic on Western Road, College Rd and Bandon Rd.

Gardaí said their Community Engagement Unit in Anglesea Street was aware of the event in advance and deployed additional resources to the area.

“Gardaí have a good relationship with all of the colleges in Cork city and events are managed in conjunction with all of the relevant stakeholders and local residents,” a spokesman said.

“Gardaí are investigating two criminal damage incidents in the city, where a young man was observed jumping on two cars.

“No arrest has been made at this time but gardaí are following a definite line of enquiry.

“A number of persons were fined for drinking in public as well as arrests on Thursday night across Cork City for public order offences, however, it is not possible to directly link these incidents to the event.”

Catherine Clancy, the chairperson of the Magazine Road and Surrounding Area Residents Association said following good engagement between residents, the authorities at UCC and its student leaders, a new complaints and disciplinary system has been introduced and there has been marked improvement in the area.

But she said CIT needs to up its game in terms of how it engages with residents in relation to concerns about the behaviour of its students, and how it follows up on those concerns.

A spokesperson for CIT said it takes any such complaints about student behaviour or house parties seriously and follows up with landlords in cases where properties are registered as CIT-student properties.

She said talks are ongoing about improving its systems and that the introduction of student fines, along similar lines to the fines regime introduced by UCC, is being considered as part of a wider regime.

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