Residents of the area surrounding University College Cork (UCC) who have been plagued by anti-social behaviour have called for a national strategy to deal with such issues after experiencing an "an unprecedented" period of unrest as students return for the new college term.
The Residents Association recently met with UCC President John O'Halloran to express their concerns. They welcome his "strong words" that he will not be found wanting in issuing fines to students (which range from €75 to €5,000), sanctions, suspensions and expulsions for breaches of the University Code of Behaviour.
“We also welcome the joint email sent to all students of both UCC and MTU urging students to act responsibly, to be mindful of the community in which they live and not to take any action that will impact their future.”
Chairperson of the Residents Association, Catherine Clancy, said they also met with Supt Colm O'Sullivan last week again to highlight the escalation of antisocial behaviour and criminal damage during the first week of term.
“While he assured us that arrests and fines have been issued over the last number of days along with ASBOs issued over the last number of weeks, we are now calling as residents for a national strategy to deal with the ever increasing antisocial and criminal damage by students living in University areas in this country.
“We are also calling for the licensing and planning regulations for residential properties being converted to houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) from where most of this antisocial behaviour and criminality emanates.”
Meanwhile, the residents previously expressed alarm that two out of every three of privately rented properties/houses of multi-occupancy in their area, when checked with the RTB website, appear not to be registered. Since 2004, it is a legal requirement for landlord/owners to register all tenancies with the RTB.
A sample check carried out by residents in 2017 found that out of 135 properties, 93 appear not to be registered. This information was forwarded to RTB in 2017.
A further recent sample check in 2021, found that out of 240 properties, 143 appear not to be registered. Many of the unregistered properties that appeared unregistered on the 2017 list appear again on the 2021 list.
Residents say that they endured huge numbers of house parties last summer with students reportedly moving in to the area as they were unable to travel abroad arising out of the Covid restrictions.
Last year residents Mairéad O’Callaghan and Sadie O’Mahony also took a successful private prosecution against a landlord following anti-social behaviour and noise at his student properties.
However, the landlord challenged the ruling of of Judge Olann Kelleehr and sought a judicial review. In April of this year in the High Court, Mr Justice Charles Meenan found in his favour, quashing Judge Kelleher's orders in respect of the prosecutions by both Ms O'Mahony and Ms O'Callaghan.