A security levy for University College Cork (UCC) and Cork IT students has been proposed by local residents angry over unruly student behaviour in the area.
Residents have complained about antisocial behaviour that has caused disruption and “outrageous incidents” in the area near the Cork colleges. Barry Keane, spokesman for the Cork University Residents’ Forum, said there are “a small number of students” that are on their own at the age of 17 and 18 and can’t handle adult behaviour.
Keane attributed the behaviour to the fact that students are consuming alcohol in the small urban area near Cork city centre where the colleges are situated. He told The College View of one incident where a sofa was moved out into the middle of the road and set on fire during a house party.
Keane also mentioned that there are a large number of unregistered landlords offering student accommodation in the area, which makes it harder to enforce discipline.
However Keane also said that the situation has improved. “Our solution has been to include the gardaí and the colleges. The gardaí didn’t actually know there was a problem until we sat them down.” Now, there are gardaí patrols in the area on Thursday nights.
A levy of between €3 and €5 to cover the cost of more security was one suggestion made by residents at a meeting of the Cork University Residents’ Forum.
UCC Students’ Union President, Eoghan Healy said that the SU was not in favour of such a levy, adding that it was the role of the gardaí to cover security.
Cork IT SU also showed no support for this suggestion. “My opinion is that you can’t tax every student on this, because it’s a minority of the minority that’s causing it”, said SU President Danny O’Donovan.
O’Donovan added that using alcohol in a public place is subject to an onthe-spot fine of €75, and such fines can cover the cost of security.
The UCC Accommodation Office allows local residents to make written complaints regarding troublesome student behaviour. UCC Accommodation Officer, Maura O’Neill told the Irish Independent that the procedure appeared to be working and the university had already disciplined 28 students using this system.
O’Donovan expressed to The College View his support for a similar system to be introduced at Cork IT. He also advised students ahead of Halloween to use alcohol responsibly. “Respect your neighbours,” he said. “They could be your grandmother, your grandfather, or your aunt.”
Keane estimated that there were a total of 10 parties in the area on last year’s Halloween, with up to 300 people. However, he remained optimistic after attending a recent meeting of the Cork Residents University Forum with the Students’ Unions, the gardaí and the Lord Mayor of Cork.
“It was a very civilised, very sensible discussion,” he said. Healy added that the meeting had resulted in progress towards CCTV surveillance in the area, with UCC releasing its part of the funding towards this venture. O’Donovan said that Cork IT SU had been proactive in arranging such discussions, having been the one inviting the various parties.
Aaron Mc Nicholas