Pressure grows on colleges to clamp down on student misconduct

Massive increase in student anti-social behaviour a drain on Garda resources

A significant rise in public order offences since the beginning of the college term has been reported by gardai and residents across the city, resulting in an Garda Siochana directing extra resources to deal with the anti-social behaviour.

Sgt Shane Cummins said there has been a substantial increase in public order offences by students, particularly on Monday and Thursday nights. He says that gardai recognise that there are only a small number of students involved, but that it is not acceptable.

“There have been a number of offences with students since the start of term. We are in continous contact with the Student Union to highlight the offences and trouble caused, and to make them aware that we will have to deal with these incidents in accordance with the law.”

“We are not trying to stop anyones fun, but we are looking for the co-operation of the students, and for them to respect their neighbours,” he said.

He noted the number of problems concentrated in student populated areas, and said that there will be extra patrols directed to curb the anti-social behaviour.

Problems caused by students in residential areas were highlighted this week when Phil Kennedy of Waterlane erected a for sale sign in her garden.

She says she is being forced to sell her home for the sake of her own health, and the wellbeing of her daughter who has Down’s Syndrome.

The woman said since students began renting the house next door three years ago there has been ongoing parties and distruption.

As a result Ms Kennedy has decided that it is time for the nightmare to end, and to sell up.

NUIG Student Union president Donna Cummins said the Student Union was happy to meet any residents to discuss problems caused by students.

“It is very disappointing when so many of our students contribute to the city, and that a small minority are bringing down the college. We are talking with local councillors to see if there is anything we can do to better the situation, and are more than happy to discuss problems with local residents.”

The Student Union president said the college is launching a community spirit initiative next month to help introduce students to the community, and to encourage them to respect their neighbours, and the communities they live in

The number of “alcohol fuelled parties” in Galway city is “totally out of control” and those students causing this kind of trouble should face the threat of expulsion from their colleges.

This is the view of Fine Gael councillors Pádraig Conneely and Brian Walsh, who were speaking at Monday’s meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Board.

Cllr Conneely called on the Private Residential Tenancies Board to attend the joint policing board’s next meeting to discuss the issue.

He said landlords and the PRTB must take a “more pro-active approach to the letting of properties” and that “residents must be fully protected from late night parties in residential estates.”

According to his party colleague Cllr Brian Walsh, who also attended the meeting, certain estates have been “taken over” by students and behaviour such as “all night parties, loud music, urinating and defecating on neighbours’ property and overturning bins” is being inflicted on neighbouring families.

“In one case a family on the east side of the city has been forced to move out of its home and rent a property elsewhere,” he said.

Both Cllr Conneely and Cllr Walsh acknowledged that the problem was only confined to a small number of students.

“As a former president of GMIT Students Union I am aware that only a small minority of students are involved, however the reputation of all is being damaged by the irresponsibility of a few,” said Cllr Walsh. “This behaviour is unacceptable. College authorities must take swift action and expel the worst offenders.”

Both men called for NUIG and the students union to take action regarding the problem.

Cllr Walsh said: “College authorities must take swift action to stem the increasing incident of unruly behaviour. I have asked that the college code of conduct be extended to certain residential areas occupied by students and the ultimate punishment, namely expulsion, be imposed on those students causing the problems

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