This evening, reports were made via social media of a student party occurring near the campus of the University of Limerick (UL), in the Castelroy area of Limerick.
In videos posted online, young people can be seen gathering and dancing in large crowds outside a house, without social distancing or use of masks.
UL announced on Twitter that they “will take action with strong disciplinary measures” against any student who is found to have breached public health guidelines. The tweet added that students at the university are “subject to a Code of Conduct”.
In a statement to Trinity News this evening, Gardaí confirmed that they had received reports of a “street party which was taking place on Carysfort Avenue, College Court, Castletroy, Co. Limerick” this evening, and a “policing operation was put in place and a significant number of Garda units attended the scene”.
“An Garda Síochána has been consistent in our graduated policing response (engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce) to supporting Public Health Regulations and guidelines in line with our tradition of policing by consent,” the statement explained. “Garda members attempted to engage with the gathered individuals.”
The statement continued that following “continued and orchestrated non-compliance with Public Health Regulations” and “failing to comply with directions from An Garda Síochána”, Gardaí were “forced to intervene at approximately 7.15pm”.
Gardaí confirmed to Trinity News this evening that three people were arrested at the scene, two under the Public Order Act and one man under Misuse of Drugs Act.
“Gardaí have issued approximately 30 Fixed Payment Notices for Breaches of the Health Act, at this time,” the statement also confirmed.
In a statement on Twitter this evening, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said that the scenes in Limerick tonight were “completely unacceptable” and a “slap in the face to everyone sacrificing so much”.
He continued: “It does a real disservice to all students who abide by the rules day in and out.” Harris confirmed that he has spoken to UL and understands that a full investigation into the incident is underway at the university.
Gardaí confirmed that they have commenced an investigation into “identifying the organisers of this event, and as with all breaches of the Public Health Regulations a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions”.
“An Garda Síochána in Limerick continue to have a close and positive working relationship with the authorities and community in the University of Limerick, which was previously demonstrated at the start of the Academic year in 2020.”
The statement to Trinity News continued: “Gardaí in Limerick will continue to provide high visibility patrols in the vicinity of the University of Limerick campus and surrounding residential areas to check compliance to Covid-19 regulations and keep the community safe.”
“The Covid-19 Pandemic remains a public health crisis and An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to all citizens to demonstrate personal and social responsibility to comply with Public Health Guidelines and Regulations in order to continue to save lives.”
UL has recently experienced outbreaks on the campus and within student accommodation, with Gardaí confirming just last week that they would be present on the university’s campus every evening due to concerns over student gatherings.
The move came following the mass Covid-19 testing of students on campus to help manage an outbreak of the disease.