Residents in Cork want house party ban ahead of new college term

Residents in Cork want house party ban ahead of new college term
Residents of Magazine Road & Surrounding Area Residents Association, Cork, observing social distancing as they highlighted concerns about Covid-19 regulations being breached in the area by young people. File picture: Denis Minihane

Residents who took a landlord to court after a spate of lockdown house parties in Cork city have called for tighter letting arrangements ahead of the new college term.

The Magazine Road Residents Association (MRRA) in Cork said they want more done to ensure there is no repeat of the carry-on over the summer at rented properties dubbed locally as 'Covid Party House’ and ‘Party Central'.

The MRRA said they expect a big turnover of tenants in rented properties in the city’s university precinct, and in the suburbs of Bishopstown, close to Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), as third level students return.

But they said landlords must ensure that their tenants comply with the current public health guidelines on Covid-19 which state that no more than six people can visit a house, and it urged all landlords and letting agents to tell these new tenants that house parties would be a breach of their letting agreements.

MRRA chairperson, Catherine Clancy, said this specific clause needs to be inserted into the letting agreements to prevent a recurrence of the proliferation of Covid-19 lockdown parties which blighted their community around UCC in recent months.

“These house parties risk the spread of Covid-19 in our community and we need to ensure residents and students can share this area without feeling anxious,” she said.

“We also call on the government to move on legislation to put an end to the Covid-19 house parties and to deal with the reckless landlords and tenants who ignore the Covid-19 regulations and who are non-compliant. People’s lives are at risk if we do not play by the rules.” 

The Irish Examiner first reported how the residents took a stand after a spate of lockdown house parties in a number of rented properties around the College Road and Magazine Road areas which peaked around the June bank holiday weekend.

In recent weeks two long-term residents took a landlord, Fachtna O’Reilly, to court, alleging noise pollution at two of the properties he owns, and was renting out.

The residents had complained that student houses close to them owned by Mr O'Reilly were like railway stations, with people coming and going at all hours and continuous parties. The properties were described in court as ‘Covid Party House’ and ‘Party Central’.

Judge Olann Kelleher accepted the evidence of the residents and gave Mr O’Reilly, of Model Farm Rd, Carrigrohane, a week to take steps to reduce noise levels of student tenants who live there, or face fines of €1,000 and/or up to 12 months in jail for breaches of the order.

A week later, the court was told that Mr O’Reilly had taken a number of steps, including issuing formal warnings to the tenants involved, installing noise monitors and CCTV cameras at the properties.

But the judge made an order under Section 108 of the Environment Agency Protection Act making the landlord liable for any future proven breaches of noise controls at the properties.

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