Both the Irish Universities Association (IUA) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have released statements today condemning the actions of students at a party in the University of Limerick (UL) last night.
Scenes of large gatherings of people dancing and not adhering to social distancing restrictions surfaced on social media last night, which were subsequently broken up by Gardaí.
Speaking to Trinity News yesterday evening, Gardaí confirmed that “street party which was taking place on Carysfort Avenue, College Court, Castletroy, Co. Limerick” and a “policing operation was put in place and a significant number of Garda units attended the scene”.
Gardaí had to intervene after attempting to engage with the individuals to disperse them, making three arrests and issuing 30 fines.
In their statement today, the IUA wished to commend students who have to this point adhered to restrictions and appealed “to all students to continue to abide by the guidelines and, especially, to avoid congregation”.
They acknowledged that while the “overwhelming majority of students are abiding by the guidelines and, thereby, safeguarding their own health”, the minority of students who refuse to adhere to restrictions not only risk the health of themselves and their family, they also “prolong the lockdown for everyone”.
The IUA took time to appeal to students, expressing empathy as to the frustration students may be feeling at the moment. IUA said they expressed support for those “working on the front line to care for those affected by Covid-19”.
The IUA emphasised their gratitude for the efforts of its college staff, expressing that the efforts of staff to ensure higher education continued during the pandemic was an “essential service” and was fully recognised as.
Repeating the appeal to students to adhere to guidelines “both on and off campus”, the IUA reaffirmed the consequences for students who refused to do so, stating that “failure to do so will result in appropriate disciplinary action being taken in accordance with Codes of Conduct for students”.
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) released a similar statement today, joining in with the “majority of students” in expressing “distress at the scenes posted on social media last night”.
USI continued that many students are “disappointed and upset” following the events of the social gathering yesterday evening. Continuing the sentiment delivered by the IUA, USI wished to express sympathies regarding the difficulties that have faced students this year.
“Like every sector of Irish society, the last year has been an incredibly difficult one for students who have been studying from home, not meeting friends and family.”
USI called on students to show solidarity and do “the right thing”, expressing that the end “was in sight”.
However, USI took the opportunity to call on government to work together and support students who have been put out by Covid-19.
USI stated: “It is not good enough to ask students not to go back to campuses, live in student accommodation or mix with other students, but not support them in this by ensuring they are not out of pocket for doing so.”
The statement comes as Sinn Fein puts forward the Student Accommodation Bill to be ratified in the Dáil.