Pensioners feel forced out of Cork neighbourhood by ‘Covid parties’

Pensioners living near University College Cork have complained their lives are being put at risk by hundreds of students who have descended on the area for “Covid parties”.

Rose O’Sullivan, who has lived on Magazine Road for more than 60 years, said students started arriving in the area after they realised their traditional summer trips to the United States or Canada were no longer an option due to the coronavirus.

“They arrived in their hundreds in the middle of a pandemic,” said O’Sullivan. “Covid sends a chill up my spine and they are saying the words ‘Covid’ and ‘party’ together. There is no respect for us.”

As the Garda reported an increase in house parties across the country in recent weeks, public health experts have warned that they are a “disaster” in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

O’Sullivan said people in the area, at least five of whom are over 90, started to emerge from the homes where they were cocooning as restrictions eased.

“Then all these people came in with the screaming, the roaring and the thumping music. The [pensioners] had to go back in to their houses again.

“One person living alone said to me that the music went into their very heart,” she said. “The vibrations are strong as we are terraced houses. You are talking parties 24 hours a day. Thirty to 50 in different gardens competing with each other shouting at the top of their lungs oblivious to everyone.”

Travel restrictions

Ms O’Sullivan claimed many of the students broke travel restriction rules by coming from all over Ireland to move in to the houses in large groups. She said they had money saved for going abroad or were in receipt of Covid-19 payments so had plenty of money for drink and drugs.

“There is no social distancing. They are from all over Ireland as far as Donegal sharing houses,” she said.

“One of the students said that he is here because it’s safer than possibly bringing Covid back to his family. What about us? We are like sitting ducks for Covid with these students around.”

Resident Jo O’Halloran said it feels like a “swarm of locusts” has descended on Glasheen.