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Bad education Man charged, 50 fined and students facing ‘possible expulsion’ after Limerick street party

So far more than 50 fines have been dished out to students in relation to breaches of the Health Act after hundreds gathered for a street party last night.

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One of the three men arrested following a street party in Castletroy, Co Limerick last night has been charged with public order offences and is due in court on March 22.

Another man, also in his 20s, has been released without charge and issued with a fixed charge notice.

Another man arrested under the misuse of drugs legislation is still being detained at Henry Street Garda Station.

So far more than 50 fines have been dished out to students in relation to breaches of the Health Act after hundreds gathered for a street party last night.

Gardai are still making enquiries as to how the event was organised.

Videos online showed flares and fireworks being set off amongst large groups of people who gathered to drink in the College Court estate predominantly occupied by University of Limerick students.

Other videos also show large groups running from Garda cars who attended the scene to break up the crowds and people singing and chanting with music being played on speakers in the background.

Limerick currently has the fourth-highest incidence of Covid-19 in the country and Public Health MidWest have recently issued concerns about the spread of coronavirus in housing estates in the city.

In a statement to Independent.ie, UL said representatives met with gardai this morning and students may be facing suspension and possibly expulsion.

"UL President Professor Kerstin Mey met with senior An Garda Síochána representatives this morning. We have appealed to our students time and again to recognise their personal responsibility in following public health restrictions. However, it is clear that there is a small

minority among our 16,500 students who live in off campus estates who are consistently ignoring government and institutional guidelines.”

Professor Mey said: “Students found to have broken the UL Code of Conduct will face the full rigour of our disciplinary process including temporary suspension and possible expulsion.

“We are fully supportive of An Garda Síochána and remain grateful for a close cooperative partnership with them,” added Professor Mey.

There are currently around 1,500 students living in the on-campus accommodation at UL, but it is gatherings at off-campus accommodation which have proved problematic in recent weeks.

UL has sanctioned a number of students since January who have been officially reported, investigated and found to have broken the UL Code of Conduct relating to the current Covid-19 environment.

Professor Mey took to Twitter to condemn last night’s scenes.

“UL will take action with strong disciplinary measures against any student who has been found to have breached public health guidelines. Students at UL are subject to a code of conduct,” she said.

Last week, she warned: “To the small minority of students who still believe there is no harm in continuing to gather - you are endangering yourselves, your friends, your families, your community and your university”.

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris told Independent.ie that the scenes were “completely unacceptable” and “a slap in the face to everyone sacrificing so much”.

“It does a real disservice to all students who abide by the rules day in and out,” he said.

Mr Harris added that he expects separate investigations to be carried out by An Garda Siochana and UL.

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