Residents in Cork city have called for University College Cork (UCC) to call off Freshers Week as the number of Covid-19 cases in Cork continue to rise.
Yesterday, a further 54 cases were confirmed in Cork and the county is under consideration for additional lockdown measures.
Health minister Stephen Donnelly confirmed on Sunday that additional restrictions could be announced this week.
The Magazine Road Residents Association said the event is facilitating the risk of spreading the coronavirus among students and the wider community.
Over the weekend, the interim president of UCC Prof John Halloran appealed to UCC Students' Union to postpone plans for Virtual Freshers Week.
On Friday evening, a Zoom call took place between Prof Halloran, City Council, Students' Union representatives and gardaí to discuss the event which is now underway.
The Magazine Road Residents Association said the decision to proceed with the event despite the effort to have the SU cancel it "shows a real disconnect between the student’s union on how Fresher’s Week is impacting residents".
In a statement today, the Association said: "There will be nothing 'virtual' about the house parties and anti-social behaviour resulting from UCC Student’s Union 'virtual' Fresher’s Week.
"When people in Cork have been asked to minimise social contacts, and UCC has moved lectures online, the Student’s Union shows shocking irresponsibility and a blatant disregard for the health and economic well-being of the citizens of Cork city."
Prof Halloran has warned students that they could face sanctions, including being expelled from college, if they breach Covid-19 guidelines by organising or attending gatherings in the coming weeks.
In an email to all students, Prof John Halloran stated: "Students found to be organising, hosting, or attending gatherings which are in breach of guidelines will be subject to sanction up to and including expulsion from the university, where warranted".