NUIG withdraws its support for rag week because of 'unruly behaviour'


NUI GALWAY says a “series of unfortunate incidents” influenced its decision to withdraw its support for the university’s annual rag week. The event “will no longer form part of the university calendar”, NUI Galway (NUIG) senior management said in a statement yesterday.

“Unfortunately this week of charitable events has been overshadowed by a minority of students using this time as an opportunity for excessive drinking, leading ultimately to unsafe, unruly and anti-social behaviour,” NUIG management said.

“NUIG does not condone this behaviour and treats such breaches of conduct very seriously,” it said, and it apologised to Galway city residents who had experienced “disruption or distress” this week. It is understood there have been 42 arrests related to rag week events in Galway city since Monday.

The college said it had conveyed its decision to the NUIG students’ union president Muireann O’Dwyer, and it would continue to support students fundraising for charity.

The Saw Doctors opened NUIG students’ union rag week last weekend. Fundraising events include a fire walk, shave-off, triathlon and swimathon, and nominated charities this year are the children’s cancer-support group CD’s Helping Hands, Galway Rape Crisis Centre, L’Arche, which supports people with intellectual disabilities, and the Belarus Orphanage Project.

NUIG said it had an alcohol policy aimed at promoting sensible drinking, but the “easy availability of cheap alcohol during this week”, along with special offers and extended drinking hours, did not help the college in its endeavours. It said it had written to publicans, club-owners and off-licence premises twice in the last year asking for co-operation. “Unfortunately a number of clubs have not co-operated,” it said.

Students’ Union president Muireann O’Dwyer said she regretted the college’s decision, but rag week would continue this week and in future years.

Many non-alcoholic events had been held, and she said she did not believe the college’s move was justified. Over €20,000 had been raised for charity to date this week, she said.