TEN arrests and 40 on-street drinking fines have been issued by Gardaí over the past two days while patrolling the ongoing RAG week festivities at UCC.
The University’s Raise and Give (RAG) week got underway on Sunday with events planned all week, including a number of official charity fundraisers.
Head of Community Policing Sergeant Stewart Philpott said there have been a number of incidents since the annual week kicked off, but nothing major.
“So far so good,” Sgt Philpott said.
“There have been a few house parties but we have been emptying them out and we have been visiting pubs and clubs.”
The Head of Community Policing said that there has been a huge increase in Student Community support volunteers with around 50 people out every night helping people to get home.
“We had a series of meetings in the lead-up to the event, all the interested parties were involved - the Students’ Union, the college, publicans, Gardaí - and we have also been in contact with landlords.”
Sgt Philpott said Community Policing Gardaí have been building up a database of contacts over the past few years and they now have an extensive list of people they can call in the area if an incident arises.
“Landlords are engaging more and we now have a number of contacts that we can call and just let them know what is happening.”
He acknowledged it was far from ideal, but said that for the most part it was being contained.
“It is busy, there is a lot of drinking, but we are taking a zero tolerance approach to it. If you are caught drinking on the street you get a €75 fine.”
The sergeant said that the new rules and fines introduced by the college last year have also helped by adding another layer of reprimands.
The ten arrests were mostly for public order offences and one or two for drugs with one drink driving offence that may not have been directly linked to RAG week.
Thursday is expected to be the biggest night of the week.
“There is a huge volume of students and it only takes a handful to misbehave to give everyone a bad name,” he said.
“The vast majority are well behaved, they have a good night out and they go home.”
The HSE and Union of Students Ireland (USI) recently warned students to be vigilant when it comes to drugs.
The UCC Students’ Union has been running awareness campaigns about harm reduction.
Students’ Union president Alan Hayes said drug use is a concern.
“It is something that we worry about, not just at RAG week but all year around,” he told the Echo.
“This year, we really wanted to get information out there about harm reduction, to educate students on drug use and the effects of it.
“A lot of people take drugs without knowing fully the effects of them and the impact in both the short term and long term,” he added.
The SU has been disseminating material online on social media platforms and on posters in bathrooms across UCC.
The university is holding a series of charity events throughout the week, including an Iron Stomach competition, macra dancing, a burrito eating contest and gigs throughout the week, with funds going towards Jigsaw, the Cork Life Centre and Homeless Help & Support Cork.