On the evening of March 2nd, residents of College Court, Limerick, engaged in a street party which led to 3 arrests and up to 50 fines dished out for non-compliance with Covid-19 regulations. A large crowd was videotaped dancing, drinking on the streets, and setting off fireworks during the evening. Many of the residents are believed to be students at the nearby University of Limerick (UL).

An Garda Síochána released a statement late last night. After initially attempting to engage with members of the crowd to leave, “Gardai were forced to intervene at approximately 7.15 pm” after “continued and orchestrated non-compliance with public health regulations.” The gardai further stated that two men in their 20s were arrested at the scene under public order legislation, and a further arrest was made of a man in his 20s under Misuse Of Drugs Legislation.One of the arrested individuals was released, the other was charged. The man arrested over drug charges still remains in custody.

Footage of the gathering at College Court. (Credit: Mostafa Darwish.)

Following the scenes at College Court, Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris took to twitter to condemn the party and the students involved, describing the event as “completely unacceptable and a slap in the face to everyone sacrificing so much.” Harris also says he has spoken to UL on the matter.

UL president Professor Kerstin Mey also spoke on twitter against the party, stating “UL will take action with strong disciplinary measures against any student who has been found to have breached public health guidelines.”

The UL student handbook containing such conduct codes states that “Members of the Campus Community shall:  Not engage in any conduct liable to or calculated to infringe the rights or lawful activities of others on the University Campus or otherwise engage in any activity calculated or likely to bring the University into disrepute, whether on the University property or otherwise.”

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) appealed for students “to continue to abide by the guidelines and, especially, to avoid congregation.” The statement further reiterated “failure to do so will result in appropriate disciplinary action being taken in accordance with Codes of Conduct for students.”

Reports of student parties are not uncommon, as The College Tribune uncovered a major Covid-19 breakout due to parties held in Aparto Beckett House in Dublin earlier this year.

Luke Murphy, Co-Editor