The University of Limerick is now funding high visibility Covid-19 Garda policing in light of increasing concerns about student gatherings in the private housing estates surrounding the university.
The Department of Public Health Mid West has recorded more than 220 cases associated with the current student outbreak in Limerick since January.
The majority of these cases have been recorded in the past two to three weeks.
Students will now face on the spot fines under new measures to help control the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Castletroy area including a fine of €500 for arranging “a gathering,” while €150 fines can be issued to anyone attending a house party.
Students will also face a €100 fine for leaving home “without a reasonable excuse.”
In an email to students, University of Limerick Interim President Professor Kerstin Mey said there was huge disappointment among both staff and students following a report from Drivetime yesterday evening which featured UL students openly admitting to mixing with other student households.
Ms Mey said the report reinforced "a growing public concern that our student body is acting irresponsibly and spreading the virus, despite the vast majority of you doing your best to abide by the current restrictions."
"So to the minority of you who still believe there is no harm in continuing to gather – you are endangering yourselves, your friends, your families, your community and your university."
"This is a highly infectious disease that has shattered millions of lives around the world. I know it is hard for you to live under almost constant public health restrictions – but COVID-19 does have an impact on young people and can indeed have devastating effects."
"We require you to abide by the restrictions and as a UL student to respect the community around you."
Professor May, who took to the streets with Gardaí to try and enforce public health guidelines in off-campus housing estates around UL last year, also reminded students of the availability of free on-campus Covid-19 testing which is taking place on campus today, Friday and Saturday.
No symptoms are required to avail of a test and students can register with their student email.
"Please do not let your guard down," Prof Mey wrote to students, "We are still very much in the middle of this and, while there is pandemic fatigue, we need you all to abide by the public health restrictions."
Following the email, UL Student President Cían Quinlan took to Twitter to ask students to respect the fact that they share the community with individuals who are vulnerable, young, old and come from all walks of life.
"Ultimately, we reside temporarily in the community they call home. We must respect this, act now."