Relationships between Newcastle residents and students have reached “an all time low” with locals threatening to organise a picket at NUI, Galway in protest over alleged anti-social behaviour.
While the student body only returned to the area in the last two weeks, already the disruption, anti-social behaviour, and late night partying has reached levels where residents are demanding meetings with the college authorities. Elderly residents have also threatened to organise a picket on both the Student Union and President’s office in NUI, Galway.
Labour councillor Billy Cameron said: “Residents genuinely are of the opinion that the college authorities are afraid to expel and make an example of students for fear of bad press and a plummeting of their ranking on the world table of universities.”
Cllr Cameron described the situation as “potentially explosive” and it has led to him organising a meeting between representatives of four Newcastle residents’ associations and Student Union President Emmet Connolly.
According to Cllr Cameron, Mr Connolly said he would be willing to meet with the university president and residents at a follow-up meeting. He ensured that leaflet drops would be carried out to rented houses and that a substantial article from the SU would be published in the student newspaper SIN, explaining the repercussions to students of anti-social behaviour.
He guaranteed that visits would be carried out by SU officials to all offending houses that are reported by residents’ associations.
He also said he would work towards the implementation of a scheme similar to that implemented by the GMIT SU whereby Student Patrols are carried out in estates, recording incidents.