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Gardaí in Galway deny claims they will share student addresses with colleges over house parties

The Mayor of Galway said that gardaí would be passing the details of students who have house parties to colleges.

NUI Galway declined to comment on the claim.
NUI Galway declined to comment on the claim.
Image: Shutterstock

GARDAÍ IN GALWAY have said that they will not be sharing private information with colleges, following reports of an agreement with NUIG to provide it with the addresses of students caught having house parties. 

The Irish Times reported today that the move had been introduced in response to large social gatherings by students in the city. 

The paper quoted Mayor of Galway City Council Mike Cubbard, who said that “the gardaí have agreed to work with the college and give them addresses of houses where they have been called because of parties, and then the college will make contact with landlords”. 

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, a garda spokesperson denied that this would be happening. 

“An Garda Síochána does not share private information with third parties,” the spokesperson said. 

“An Garda Síochána in Galway continue to liaise closely with third level institutions.”

Such a move, coming amid fears of a spike in Covid-19 cases, would likely raise data privacy and GDPR concerns. 

NUI Galway declined to comment on the claim by the mayor. A spokesperson for NUIG insisted that it would not be issuing an official clarification or public response to his comments and directed TheJournal.ie to the An Garda Síochána.

The comments come after photos and videos shared earlier this week showed a large number of people near the Spanish Arch in Galway, with groups also shown on Shop Street. The gatherings come following the return to college of thousands of students. 

The gatherings were condemned by local councillors

NUI Galway Students’ Union said that it was “disappointed” at reports about student details being shared. 

NUIGSU President Pádraic Toomey said that this was the first time the union had heard about any such suggestions. 

“Whilst the Students’ Union does not condone the actions of anybody who breaks the public health guidelines, we are concerned at the rush to take a heavy-handed approach,” Toomey said.

“We have heard a lot of macho rhetoric in recent days about engaging the army, using water cannon and doling out expulsions. We don’t think this approach is helpful and we fear that this kind of aggressive approach will distract from the real challenge of encouraging responsible behaviour.”

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“The vast majority of people are being responsible, but unfortunately there is a minority in all sections of society which doesn’t seem to be getting the message,” Toomey said. 

“Kangaroo courts and finger-pointing isn’t going to change the behaviour of those groups. The suggestion that the gardai would share people’s details to administer punishments is extremely concerning and is not something we should entertain.”

TheJournal.ie has tried to contact Cubbard for comment. 

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Claire Byrne programme, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee stressed that gardaí had enough powers to deal with house parties. 

“I asked the question last night of the commissioner: Do you need more powers? The very clear answer was no.”

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