Freshers' Week 'a living hell for locals'
Residents in an Irish housing estate are being kept awake until 5am by drunken students and are having their homes treated like landfill sites.
A mother-of-three from Limerick has spoken about her “living hell” during Freshers' Week.
Christyna Mulcahy, a resident of Watergate housing complex, said she has spent the majority of this week cleaning up broken glass, vomit and blood. Sometimes, she has even had to clean up human faeces from outside her gate.
“They use our gardens as public toilets,” she told Independent.ie.
Freshers’ Week got underway on Monday night, but Ms Mulcahy said that the unsociable behaviour is an ongoing problem in the area.
“The residents here have been complaining for the last thirty years but nobody seems to care.”
Ms Mulcahy added that it’s now a difficult area to raise children.
“The worst I’ve seen would have been the two people having intercourse in our neighbour’s garden. Her son seen it and woke her up that night, he would have been about 14.
“We also had an incident where the students had the roads completely blocked and they tried to overturn a car with a lady inside it,” she said.
With her youngest child still in school, Ms Mulcahy believes the sleepless nights are having a negative effect on her child’s education.
“It’s not fair on the children. They could be after 4am getting to sleep and then they’re getting up at 7am for school. It’s the children’s’ welfare and education that is being affected. Then if we don’t send them to school because they’re so tired, we’re the ones that get in trouble,” she said.
People in the locality have raised the issue with councillors and gardai on numerous occasions.
Councillor Malachy McCreesh met with Ms Mulcahy last night and said the Council are doing what they can to improve the situation for Watergate residents.
“Limerick City and County Council are trying to take the initiative to facilitate a resolution to this problem.
“We’ve been calling for houses to be soundproofed to reduce the noise but that hasn’t happened yet. We have also been trying to stop illegal taxi ranks to reduce traffic congestion in the area,” he told Independent.ie.
Due to the high level of traffic congestion, he fears ambulances and fire brigades would be unable to get access to people during an emergency.
When he visited the area last night, Mr McCreesh said students were “throwing bottles on the ground, getting sick and urinating on peoples property” when he visited Watergate last night.
The Sinn Fein councillor is calling on more gardai to be deployed in the area.
“There is a very limited number of gardai around. I know they were stretched last night and they don’t have enough bodies on the ground. If there were more gardai, people would be less likely to gather on corners and hang around outside peoples houses,” he said.
Sarah Dunphy, Students' Union President at the University of Limerick said in a statement: "We do not condone the behaviour mentioned in this article, however we have worked in conjunction with the local residents and gardai to have an ‘Meitheal na Mac Léinn’ Student Patrol to limit disturbances in local estates, with the primary aim being the safety and well-being of our students.
"We notified students about drinking responsibly and the consequences of anti-social behaviour through a leaflet drop to all student houses and we regularly run campaigns to highlight the importance of being drink aware. Here in the Students’ Union, we work tirelessly to foster good relationships with the residents of the estates where our UL students live."