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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Students arrested and fined over 'Christmas Day' public order incidents

AN unofficial student “Christmas Day” event caused havoc in parts of the city last night with a number of public order arrests, drug detections and fines issued for public drinking.

By lunchtime yesterday, there were longs queues of students in Christmas jumpers outside pubs in the college area and extra Garda patrols were deployed.

Gardaí reported that there were a number of arrests for public order offences last night, 20 on-street fines for drinking and a number of drug detections.

A Garda source said that the event was a significant burden on the force as additional resources had to be drafted in to police the student areas.

UCC Students’ Union president, Alan Hayes, worked throughout the day and night coordinating with Gardaí and communicating with local residents about the unofficial event.

The “Christmas Day” event had been banned by the Students Unions’ after last year’s antics, which included littering, broken wing mirrors, urinating in people’s gardens and raucous behaviour into the early hours of the morning.

“It was promised by the University that we wouldn’t be condoning or involved in a Christmas Day,” Mr Hayes told the Evening Echo.

“It is a difficult situation, we are not organising it and we don’t know what is happening so we have no control and don’t know where the crowds are going to be.

“We didn’t organise the event, but this is something where we still need to recognise that it is happening. Student safety and resident safety is paramount to us.”

Chairperson of the Magazine Road residential committee, Catherine Clancy, said it was unacceptable that residents were made feel nervous, upset and stressed due to the high volumes of boisterous youths drinking in the local area.

“This is not supported by UCC on any level but the reality is there is still a huge culture of drinking with students,” said Ms Clancy.

“The queue for the pub is a source of nuisance and there was a serious amount of litter in the area.”

Ms Clancy said it is a residential area and the students should not be out on the street queuing into pubs.

“These pubs are in a residential area and the effects on the local community need to be taken into consideration by the publicans.

“Residents are concerned about the numbers gathering and the large numbers being drunk in the early afternoon. There were parties beginning in the middle of the day.”

Ms Clancy said that the onus should be on the pubs to sort out the situation, along with UCC and the Gardaí.

“It is frightening the number of people who were out of control,” she said.

Lord Mayor Mick Finn said college authorities, the students’ union and Gardai must step up to the plate to tackle these kinds of events.

“Much stricter penalties are needed for anti-social behaviour, such as heavy fines and perhaps an impact on travel visas,” Mr Finn said.