A NUMBER of students were arrested by gardai this week as residents in Castletroy again came “under siege” from rowdy students during the annual ‘Charity Week’ in the University of Limerick.
The campus’s annual ‘Charity Week’ aims to raise thousands of euro for local charities. However, the week, which was formerly known as ‘RAG week’ (Raising and Giving) - has again provoked uproar from upset long-term residents.
The Limerick Leader understands that gardai arrested five students in the early hours of Tuesday morning, after trees were uprooted, wheelie bins were set alight and rubbish strewn across College Court. A further 41 fines were issued for drinking in a public place and littering.
Fine Gael councillor Michael Sheahan said the future of the week will have to be reviewed in light of ongoing disruptions to residents.
“There are guys being put into the boots of cars now with only their underpants on them. It’s like something out of Beirut. It is awful to think this is what our young people have descended to,” he said.
While he believes that such anti-social behaviour has since been quelled, he asked: “The issue is what is the future of the week going forward? Do the residents have to endure this every year?”
One resident, who refused to give their name fearing reprisals from students, said: “Students completely ran amok and did an unbelievable amount of damage. I am very proud of Castletroy but what went on last night is just shocking.
“When I made a complaint in the past I was told by the college it is just a minority of students. But it is not ... it is time that the university did something about this,” said the resident.
However, Derek Daly, president of the students’ union (ULSU), said many of the issues reported this week were “outside of our organised, secured events” and also said the littering of some areas pre-dated charity week. Mr Daly himself patrolled College Court, one of the most troubled areas every year during this week, up until 4am this Wednesday to ascertain the level of disruption being caused.
He said student patrols were moved from quieter estates to College Court to clean up some of the damage caused. “We are happy enough with the week, it’s not like Galway,” he added, referring to RAG week in Galway which was banned last year and has continued to attract controversy.
The name of the week in UL was recently changed from RAG week to Charity week to encourage students to recognise the true importance of the week.