Students to ‘face suspension’ after College Court incident; Minister Harris condemns gathering

The University of Limerick have announced an investigation will be carried out into the Tuesday night gathering in College Court.

One man in his 20’s was charged by Gardaí in connection with the incident, while 30 Fixed Payment Notices for Breaches of the Health Act were issued.

Discussing the incident, UL stated that “following a policing operation and continued and orchestrated non-compliance with Public Health Regulations and failing to comply with directions from An Garda Síochána, Gardaí were forced to intervene & a number of individuals were arrested and fixed charge notices were issued.”

The statement added that the University is conducting an investigation to identify any UL students who took part in the gathering, “which represents a serious breach of both the public health restrictions and the institutional code of conduct.”

“Any student found to have attended the gathering will face suspension, pending a full investigation, or possible expulsion,” it added.

A Gardaí investigation has been launched into the event, and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Minister for Higher Level Education, Simon Harris spoke with Andrea Gilligan of Newstalk this afternoon regarding the gathering in College Court on Tuesday night.

The minister condemned those involved in the gathering and asked listeners not to “tarnish all students with the same brush.”

Video footage widely circulated on social media showed dozens of people attending a street party on Carysfort Avenue in College Court, a housing estate located beside the University of Limerick campus largely occupied by students.

Minister Harris said the incident was “beyond unacceptable” and an “attack on national effort.”

When asked about the issue of students travelling for college and moving back to campus despite remote learning, Harris said:

“These are adults, they have a right to choose where they want to live, but there’s an obligation.”

“Practicals can’t be done online, lab work can’t be done online, there are parts of this country without access to broadband. Not everyone’s family home is a safe place,” he added.

On punishing those involved, Minister Harris said the issue is a matter for the University of Limerick and their disciplinary procedures.

“Let me be very clear, this is being taken extremely seriously by the Gardaí. From my perspective as Minister, I’ve spoken to the president of UL and chancellor.”

“Disciplinary action up to, and including, expulsion will now be examined.”

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