Galway’s colleges and An Garda Síochána must address the large number of students congregating due to the risk of spreading COVID-19 it poses, as many voices have raised alarm at scenes from Galway City on Monday night.
Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council James Charity said that large numbers of students congregated on Monday night to celebrate ‘freshers week’ as colleges resumed.
“Over the last few days, we’ve been trying to enforce the message that steps need to be taken locally to reduce social contacts and assist in preventing a potential move to Level 3 restrictions,” Cllr Charity said.
“The scenes tonight are very disappointing and could potentially have ramifications across County Galway.”
Galway is currently one of several counties under close observation by NPHET amid an alarming rise in the number of COVID-19 cases daily.
There were 21 cases of COVID-19 in Galway notified yesterday, the fourth highest level in the country, behind Dublin, Cork, and Donegal.
Speaking on Monday, Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer said that everyone to adhere to public health advice, but “particularly those living and working” in Cork, Galway, Monaghan and Roscommon.
There has been concern raised that it case numbers are not brought under control, Galway could join Dublin and Donegal at Level 3 lockdown restrictions.
“This is crucial as we all collectively fight Covid-19 and act in the best interests of society and our County.”
There were many other voices condemning the large numbers of students gathered at the Spanish Arch and Claddagh Basin on Monday night.
City Councillor Owen Hanley said that anyone who broke COVID-19 restrictions should be ashamed of themselves.
“Not only are you putting the whole city at risk but you are sacrificing the experience of the next entire college year for your class mates and yourselves.”
Every person who broke Covid restrictions in the Galway crowds tonight should be ashamed. Not only are you putting the whole city at risk but you are sacrificing the experience of the next entire college year for your class mates and yourselves. Bitta common sense and cop on. pic.twitter.com/XZaFdDuTHw
— Cllr. Owen Hanley (@OwenHanleyLives) September 28, 2020
Councillor Eddie Hoare commented morosely that Level 3 restrictions could be expected by the end of the week with scenes like these.
Mayor of Galway City Mike Cubbard described the scenes as “absolute madness”, with more than 300 people gathered.
“Thanks to the guards who went and cleared the area but this is the very reason why Galway is likely to be placed on level 3 come Friday.”
Mayor Cubbard and Councillor Charity have both said that they will be seeking an emergency meeting with management of NUIG, GMIT, and An Garda Síochána to see how these scenes can be avoided in the future.
“I am asking the heads of GMIT and NUIG, as well as the Chief Superintendent, to meet with me in order to examine measures to ensure we don’t see a repeat of this evenings events in Galway,” James Charity said.