Arrests treble during Rag Week

Public order arrests in Cork City are running at treble the normal rates during Rag Week at the university as residents complain that efforts to control antisocial behaviour are not working.

Gardaí made about 50 arrests for public order offences between Sunday and Wednesday night in the city centre and college area, a nightly level of arrests usually only seen at weekends. Almost half involved students and seven involved students of UCC.

The annual Raise and Give week is organised by UCC Students’ Union, with money raised at official events this year going to four charities.

Superintendent Barry McPolin, head of the Garda district that includes the city centre, UCC and surrounding areas, said disorder levels were similar to the same week in recent years.

He said extra gardaí were on duty to keep a visible presence in the area and respond to incidents where the students’ union patrols asked for assistance.

The offences for which arrests have been made include public drunkenness, people being a danger to themselves or others and damage to property and cars.

Gardaí have also been issuing on-the-spot fines for drinking alcohol in a public place and some illegal drug detections have been made.

There have also been dozens of complaints about parties going on into the early hours of the morning. About 150 people were counted going in and out of a house near College Road this week.

David O’Donovan who lives on Highfield West, just off College Road, said his family, including three children aged between three and eight, had been woken or kept awake until 4am most days this week.

“The student patrols are trying to intervene but there’s a heightened level of aggression that we haven’t seen in other years. It’s just a total drinkfest,” he said.

Mr O’Donovan said parties start around teatime and the people go into the city at about 11pm, but return at 2.30am and parties continue until at least 4am.

“A lot of the residents in the area are elderly and a lot of them are living by themselves and they’re really scared,” he said.

A UCC Students’ Union spokesman said they recognised there were some issues late at night among a minority of students.

“Most events are held at daytime on the campus and we’re not running any events with alcohol ourselves. It’s a minority who are involved in antisocial behaviour and many aren’t even UCC students,” he said.

“We met gardaí and residents beforehand and there will be further meetings after the week is over. We’re raising a lot of money for charity, one event that finished at 6am today raised more than €3,500.”

Supt McPolin said gardaí have concerns about the impact a minority of drunk and boisterous students are having on residents.

However, he said there had been improvements in communication with landlords whose rented houses were being used for late parties this year.

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