SERIOUS concerns are being voiced that some people are continuing to gather and attend house parties in Cork, despite public health advice to the contrary.
Gardaí confirmed tothat they responded to five call-outs in relation to house parties in Cork city on Monday night.
The gatherings come as residents living in the vicinity of University College Cork say that while Freshers’ Week may be taking place virtually this year, that they feel like it is taking place in their community.
Catherine Clancy, chairperson of the Magazine Road Residents Association said she disagreed with the UCC Student Union’s decision to hold the virtual events this year.
“Freshers’ week is not taking place online. It is taking place in our community,” she said.
“The drinking is happening in the area and the parties are happening in the area under the umbrella of Freshers Week,” she said.
“It’s not virtual for us."
The Magazine Road residents had released a statement early in the week, urging all Freshers’ Week events to be cancelled.
However, UCC Students Union’s President, Naoise Crowley said that this statement was the cause of confusion amongst the Cork community.
“The statement released by the Residents' Association never once mentioned that UCC Students' Union was moving Freshers' Week completely online. By giving the impression that our events are in-person, they have created confusion and misrepresented what we have been doing. The vast majority of people who have been complaining believed that these events were being held in person,” he said.
He said that they feel “disappointed” by the University’s initial decision to cancel the virtual events.
“We were disappointed by UCC's decision. We have seen evidence from the Campus Watch committee this week that, to this point, none of these gatherings have been related to any virtual entertainment provided,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Cork City councillor has urged people to stay the course in spite of “Covid fatigue” after he witnessed a large queue of people in the city centre in which he said social distancing seemed “very limited”.
Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill took to Twitter on Monday night to raise his concern about a queue which had gathered on Oliver Plunkett Street.
Speaking to The Echo, Councillor Cahill said individuals need to take more responsibility for their actions, but that certain public health recommendations may need to become law in order for Covid-19 case numbers to decline.
“The onus is on the personal individual – period.
“Now, what may need to happen is that some of the recommendations may need to become laws because if the business owner or in fact a guard interferes and it’s not a law well what are we meant to do?” he said.
“We have evidence to show that when we do act responsibly and collectively we do get the numbers down,” he continued.
Mr Cahill said that some of the people in the queue were wearing masks and said that although people can go out “with the best of intentions”, as the evening progresses and people relax, social distancing can go out the window.
“It’s a very natural thing for that to happen but we’re not in natural times,” he reminded people.
“People just need to be able to stop and think and sometimes it just takes somebody to say ‘listen, hang on we’re a bit too close together’,” he added.
Mr Cahill said that it’s not just young people who are at fault either.
Looking out the window of a restaurant he was eating at on Saturday night, Mr Cahill said he observed “people up and down the street who were way too close and of an older age”.
“It’s a herd mentality – most of us if we were at a match or something like that, we’d behave in that manner and I think there are times now that we need to stop because the health effect it’s going to have and the financial effect it’s going to have, if we keep getting worse at it, it’s going to be much harder to recover from,” he continued.
In a statement issued by Gardaí yesterday, they renewed their 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.”