College authorities in Cork should fund special Garda units to police residential areas plagued by drunken students.
The call came last night from an independent city councillor as pressure mounts on University College Cork (UCC) to address drink-fuelled antisocial behaviour in the wake of the latest student rampage.
Residents on Magazine Rd said they feel like they are living under siege after the latest incident, which occurred last week and which was captured on camera. The footage, which was posted on YouTube, shows dozens of students drinking, chanting, singing, throwing rubbish, and kicking rubbish all over the street. Gardaí were called and the mob was dispersed.
Local resident Paddy Hayes said this kind of student behaviour has become unbearable, and that homeowners in the area feel like they are under siege. He said he and his neighbours attended meetings with college authorities up to 15 years ago where action was promised.
“But the other night said to me, this is it. You’ve got to do something about this. What’s happening is a danger to everybody,” Mr Hayes said.
He said college authorities are aware of the problems but the situation is getting worse and he said residents are left to clean up their street after these incidents.
“The landlords should be cleaning up with us. But they are never there when we want them,” he said.
In a statement, UCC said it is aware of the incident on Magazine Rd and does not condone any form of antisocial or illegal behaviour. A spokesman said: “Complaints received will be dealt with thoroughly via the university’s procedures laid out in the student rules.”
He said UCC and the students’ union are committed to working with gardaí and local residents to find solutions to these challenges.
Community activist Barry Keane, who led a campaign some years ago to crack-down on rogue landlords in the university district, said the installation of CCTV cameras in the College Rd area last year has helped reduce the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour.
However, he said the problem has just moved to other streets not covered by the network of CCTV cameras.
Cllr Mick Finn (Ind) has called for the establishment of a special Garda unit to police areas around UCC and CIT — a policing operation which the colleges should fund.
He said: “The college leaders need to stand up and address the situation under their remit; this has been an issue for years and while sporadic attempts have been made to fix the problems — some successful — no lasting solution has been found.
“A high proportion of students causing trouble in Tuesday and Thursday nights are living away from home and feel they can do what they want — that must be addressed.”
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