NO sheep were interfered with during an agricultural-themed night during Charity Week at the University of Limerick, the students union has insisted.
Students arriving at the Stables Bar for the Farmers Ball last Tuesday were met on the way in by three sheep - as well as a pair of goats named Shakira and Rihanna.
But the farmyard shenanigans were a step too far for one student who complained to the Limerick Chronicle that “sheep were being groped by people who had obviously had a few - it wasn’t funny and it wasn’t smart”.
But students union ents officer Keith Quinlan said the farmer from whom the students union had borrowed the animals had been present at all times to ensure his livestock came to no harm.
“We were running an event called the Farmers Ball. Turning the Stables into a stable would be the best way to describe it, with hay on the floor in the venue and a tractor and sheep outside. They were only there for a short while at the beginning as people were going in and taken away safely to the farm again that night. The farmer was there with a carer as well as a member of the security staff to ensure that the animals were being looked after at all times,” said Mr Quinlan.
“The animals are actually pets so they would be well used to being around people. There was people petting them but the farmer wouldn’t allow anybody to interfere with his animals.”
Limerick Animal Welfare confirmed that they had received a number of complaints about animals being mistreated on the night.
“I’m sure there wasn’t any intention to be cruel to the animals and I understand that the animals were taken away pretty quickly. Still, it was an inappropriate setting and the situation could have been handled better,” said LAW’s Marian Fitzgibbon.
Charity Week attracted a lot of negative publicity last week from the excesses of a minority of UL students who “ran amok” around Castletroy last week. Roxboro gardai confirmed a number of arrests had been made for drunkenness and other public order offences.
But the students union stresses that raising money for local charities is the main reason for putting on such events. The Rape Crisis Centre, Brothers of Charity, Pieta House and TLC4CF are this year’s beneficiaries while local animal charities have been supported by UL students in the past.