University of Limerick President Prof Kerstin Mey accompanied local gardaí as they patrolled off-campus housing estates on Tuesday in a bid to remind students to follow public health guidelines.
Prof Kerstin Mey said the involvement of college authorities shows “a shared responsibility for community welfare”.
“We are hoping that our presence will help with the message that for students, behaviour in the general community is directly linked to their status as a UL student,” said Prof Mey.
Senior staff at UL are engaging in nightly walking tours of local residential estates in conjunction with An Garda Síochána as students return to college this week.
The move came as concerns were raised about large gatherings of students as the first term of the new academic year gets under way. As many as 1,000 mostly young people gathered close to the Spanish Arch in Galway on Monday night, attracting widepsread criticism and prompting calls for parties and large gatherings to be curtailed.
“UL takes its civic responsibilities very seriously and has worked with gardai, community representatives and the University’s representative body, UL Student Life, to try and reinforce the message that everyone must take responsibility for their actions,” said Prof Mey.
“The safety of staff and students has always been a priority and it is vital that students take responsibility for their actions, follow the public health guidelines, limit their social contacts and stay safe.
“We are fully aware that this situation is difficult for students in what should have been one of the most exciting weeks of their lives - but they must follow the advice and heed the warnings, or they risk putting the people they love and the wider community at risk by their actions,” she added.
Chief Superintendent for the Limerick Garda Division Gerard Roche said: “The assistance of UL to help us engage, educate and encourage the community is welcomed. In supporting the COVID-19 public health guidelines, we need everyone to double down on the tremendous efforts they have made here in Limerick.
Calling on the public to limit social contacts, Supt Roche said “Whilst you may feel safe at home and think it’s ok to have friends over or have a party, you are putting your health, their health and everyone you come into contact with afterwards at risk.”
“It is vital that you continue to play your part by limiting contact with others - this will save lives,” Chief Supt Roche added.