The Mayor and Chief Executive of Galway City Council convened an emergency virtual meeting on Tuesday morning of various agencies and interested parties in response to the incidents that occurred in Galway City on Monday night.
Large crowds of young people congregated in the Spanish Arch, Shop Street and Woodquay areas raising widespread concerns raised regarding the lack of social distancing,
In attendance at today's meeting were the Mayor of Galway City, Cllr. Mike Cubbard, Tony Canavan, Chief Executive, HSE Saolta Group, Superintendent Damian Flanagan, Galway Garda Station, President of NUI, Galway, Prof. Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of GMIT, Dr. Orla Flynn and the presidents of the Students Unions of NUI Galway and GMIT, Pádraic Toomey and Victor O’Loughlin.
The upset, anger and concern of people across the city at the events that unfolded was shared and acknowledged by all. In particular and in light of the lack of social distancing evident from both social media posts which circulated and which were reported to public representatives and the Gardaí over the course of Monday evening, it was agreed that the events were completely unacceptable.
Many members of our community have made great efforts in the context of COVID-19 and the need for empathy and solidarity in that regard was emphasised.
The presidents of the third-level institutions outlined the work carried out to facilitate a safe return to teaching consistent with public health advice. They also set out the disciplinary measures available to them in relation to on-campus and off-campus behaviour and agreed to continue to work with the Gardai closely on such enforcement measures. These had been clearly communicated to students over the last number of weeks and will be pursued as appropriate.
The Students’ Union presidents will continue to use their communication channels to urge students to follow public health guidelines
Galway City Council will continue to work closely with An Garda Síochána and in particular emphasise that drinking in public is contrary to Galway City Bye-Laws. The Gardaí are actively confiscating alcohol which is being consumed in public spaces and will continue issuing public notices which result in fines and possible court appearances.
It is still vital that people living in, working in and visiting Galway limit their social interactions, maintain social distancing, wear face masks where appropriate such as in shops and on public transport, and not gather in groups larger than outlined in the public health advice.
We know the considerable sacrifices people have made during the last six months, but individually and collectively we must continue to do all we can to protect our families, friends and neighbours.
In these unprecedented times of Covid-19 Pandemic and with the current deep concerns about a possible move to Level 3 of the Living with Covid-19 plan, the meeting appealed to people across the city to “Keep it small, keep your distance and keep safe.”
The group agreed to maintain contact and to convene again if needed later in the week.