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Authorities agree to work together to discourage repeat of 'disturbing' Galway scenes

Yesterday the Acting CMO said the number of cases in Galway has increased over the past week.

Image: Councillor Eddie Hoare

Updated Sep 29th 2020, 4:30 PM

A MULTI-AGENCY meeting took place today to discuss what has been described as “deplorable” footage of large crowds gathered in Galway city last night. 

Photos and videos shared on social media showed a large number of people near the Spanish Arch, with groups also shown on Shop Street

Representatives from the council, An Garda Síochána, the HSE, third level institutions and student unions joined the virtual meeting today to discuss the scenes. 

In a statement this afternoon, the council said the “upset, anger and concern of people across the city at the events that unfolded was shared and acknowledged by all”.

The presidents of the third-level institutions set out the disciplinary measures available to them in relation to on- and off-campus behaviour and agreed to continue to work with the gardaí closely on such enforcement measures. Student union presidents also said they would continue to use their communication channels to urge students to follow public health guidelines. 

The council said gardaí are actively confiscating alcohol which is being consumed in public spaces and will continue issuing public notices which result in fines and possible court appearances.

The council also said it wanted to emphasise that “individually and collectively” people must continue to do all they can to protect each other. 

In these unprecedented times of Covid-19 pandemic and with the current deep concerns about a possible move to Level 3 of the Living with Covid-19 plan, the meeting appealed to people across the city to ‘Keep it small, keep your distance and keep safe’.

‘Dealing with breaches’

In a statement this morning, NUI Galway said: “The scenes involving students and other young people in some parts of Galway city on Monday night were deplorable”

NUI Galway has repeatedly appealed to the better judgement of our students and reminded them of their responsibilities under the student Code of Conduct. 

“The university has also worked to ensure this year’s experience of university life is safe, supportive and enjoyable, despite the limitations that the pandemic places on us.”

Last week, NUIG students were warned they could face expulsion if they failed to adhere to Covid-19 public health guidelines.

The university said today it “won’t hesitate in dealing with any breaches of public health guidelines”. 

‘Simply unacceptable’

Local representatives expressed concern about the large crowds seen last night.  

Fianna Fáil Senator Ollie Crowe said he had sympathy for students entering college for first time during the pandemic but these scenes “are simply unacceptable, particularly with recent growth in Galway cases”.

“I have contacted Mill Street gardaí and written to NUIG President though I fear damage may be done,” he added.

Social Democrats councillor Owen Hanley said every person who failed to adhere to the restrictions in the crowds in Galway last night “should be ashamed”.

“Not only are you putting the whole city at risk but you are sacrificing the experience of the next entire college year for your class mates and yourselves,” he said, adding they they should display more “common sense and cop on”

Fine Gael councillor Eddie Hoare also said this kind of activity will lead to an increase in Covid-19 cases in the city.

On Monday RTÉ’s Brian O’Connell also shared a number of videos of crowds on the streets of Cork city after the pubs had closed for the night. He said social distancing inside the pubs had been good but “the streets were a different story”.

Yesterday evening Acting CMO Dr Ronan Glynn said around 70 cases of Covid-19 over the past 14 days have been linked to pubs and restaurants in Cork.

“That’s in the context of 350 cases in Cork over the past fortnight,” said Dr Glynn. He said a “significant cluster” had also been linked to a house party in Galway.

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Officials yesterday confirmed a further 390 cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

Of yesterday’s figures, some 209 cases were confirmed in Dublin which is currently under Level 3 restrictions.

Some 27 cases were in Cork, 22 in Donegal, 21 in Galway, 14 in Kildare, 14 in Monaghan, seven in Roscommon, seven in Tipperary, seven in Waterford, seven in Wexford, six in Limerick, six in Longford, five in Laois, five in Meath, five in Offaly, and five in Sligo.

The remaining 23 cases were spread across eight counties.

- With reporting by Orla Dwyer

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