Neighbourhood disturbances may result in legal proceedings

DCU’s Chief Operations Officer has warned that formal steps, up to and including criminal charges, will be taken to clamp down on the anti-social behaviour of some students in the vicinity of the university campus.

Students’ Union (SU) President Aaron Clogher circulated an email from Dr. Declan Raftery recently, in relation to their recent working group discussions with Head of Security Ray Wheatley, residents’ representatives, local Gardaí, management of both Shanowen accommodation blocks and local TD, Róisín Shortall.

Concerns about students’ behaviour in the area were raised some weeks ago when Shortall contacted the local Superintendent on behalf of upset local residents. Complaints, which came from young and old neighbours, referred to noise levels late on weekday nights as well as damage caused to cars and property.

Raftery’s recent message urged students to “respect the property and privacy of local residents while travelling to and from the campus…It is a responsibility for all staff and students to work to have the University presence viewed as a positive impact in the area.”

According to Clogher, the Halloween Ball held in late October was the “first time we’ve put a concentrated effort in on the ground to try and tackle it”. Members of DCU Security, external security company GreenShield and members of the Ents crew dispersed around campus and monitored the situation, particularly around the Shanowen and Collins Avenue areas, where the majority of complaints have come from.

He outlined how management of the Shanowen accommodation blocks have been working with DCU’s Campus Residence Limited to “try and draw up some common house rules”. These may include the raising of fines for noisy Shanowen residents to make the difference between on and off-campus accommodation “more seamless”.

Expressing his belief that Gardaí are not keen to have to arrest students, the SU President said: “If you lifted everything that’s ever happened in our vicinity and transferred it into O’Connell Street or somewhere in the city centre, I’d say the Gardaí would come down a bit heavier.”

Clogher does not believe students behaviour has worsened in recent times but “it’s just that we’ve decided we’re going to do something about it”. To this end he said that if “something serious” did occur, “it’s inevitable that it (legal action) could happen”.

Raftery, meanwhile, also outlined that “the University, through its Student Disciplinary Procedures, will not hesitate to take action” against students who continue to cause a disturbance in the neighbourhood.

Sarah Bermingham

Image Credit: Flickr Via Creative Commons

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