15 June 2020
By Elaine Murphy
The Magazine Road Residents and Surrounding Areas Association has welcomed the decision of the Gardai, Cork City Council and the HSE to contact 40 landlords with 200 properties regarding the spate of Covid-19 Lockdown parties in the area. A letter to landlords was signed by Dr Anne Sheahan Specialist in Public Health Medicine, A/Director of Public Health, Medical Officer of Health AMRIC Division of HPSC and Department of Public Health, HSE South (Cork & Kerry); John F. McPolin, Chief Superintendent, An Garda Síochána, Cork City Garda Division and Ann Doherty, Chief Executive, Cork City Council.
The residents in the area are calling for the licensing of landlords as a matter of urgency. They want a Landlord NCT system to be implemented immediately.
Residents are deeply concerned after a weekend of yet more Covid-19 Lockdown parties in the area.
Catherine Clancy – who happens to be a former Lord Mayor of Cork City – and who has lived locally for three decades said:
“Following our meetings earlier this week with the Gardai, City Council and the HSE, we welcome the statement, which makes it blatantly obvious that that the current legislation on the management and upkeep of rented properties is minimal, outdated and in urgent need of change to make it relevant to 2020. No community should be left at the mercy of the personality of the landlord. We are calling for the licensing of landlords. There should be something along the lines of an NCT for rented properties where there are certain criteria to be checked and approved before they can be rented out. This needs to be a top priority for our legislators and most especially our new Government. Landlords who consistently abuse local regulations and facilitate the antisocial behaviour of tenants with respect to the community must face substantial fines.
“We need action now. Many residents in the area had another weekend of having to listen to music and shouting into the early hours of the morning. This is not fair and we need this to end now.”
The letter issued to landlords is below:
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RE: Complaints regarding house parties in the greater College Road / Magazine / Glasheen Road area.
We refer to the above. We are writing to you on behalf of three statutory agencies in our capacity of managing the ongoing National response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. In our country and here in Cork, people have made huge sacrifices across all spheres of life, to save the lives of people who are vulnerable and to protect frontline workers. Frontline workers have repeatedly thanked the people of Cork for their efforts to stop the spread of this deadly virus and urged people to ‘hold firm’ in our collective efforts to keep our communities safe. As you may be aware from extensive media reporting, the residents in the greater College Road, Magazine Road and Glasheen Road area have raised legitimate concerns over the on-going house parties by tenants of some of the rented properties within this area. Over the last two weeks or so, the residents have endured on-going parties, primarily in rented accommodation, apparently occupied by students and young people, well into the early hours of the morning. An Garda Síochána has visited many of the rented properties concerned and witnessed up to 30 persons congregating therein. Many of these people had travelled from outside the previous 2km and then the 5km limit. While these limits are now abolished, there is still a statutory obligation on persons not to gather in any outdoor setting of more than 15 persons or not more than 6 persons not from the same household in any indoor setting. The residents are rightly concerned that these parties may aid the spread of the COVID-19 disease with obvious consequences for the elderly/vulnerable residents of the area. And it is in this regard that we write to you. We seek your co-operation in addressing and reinforcing the adherence to the Regulations and the Government Guidelines to stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease. We ask that you actively engage with your tenants and stress the importance of complying with the Regulations and Guidelines. You will appreciate the impact of non-compliance of the Guidelines/Regulations by tenants of your property, which may include contributing to and/or increasing the spread of the disease, a disease which the country has succeeded in supressing thus far. Aside from the obvious health and economic risks of extending the effects of the pandemic, it must be stressed to the tenants that these activities can directly endanger the health of vulnerable persons either in the community or in their own or their friends’ immediate families. None of us wants to be responsible for contributing in any way to the spread of the virus leading to serious illness or death. The CMO has clearly advised the public that we cannot be complacent; that we must continue with the guidelines on social distancing and regulations on gatherings etc. and, if we fail to do Page | 2 so, the infection rate will increase and the steps taken to date to re-open our country may be halted, impacting significantly on our health service and hospital capacity, employment, our economy and the greater good of all citizens. While a specific complaint may not have been made in respect of a property that you own or manage, we believe that it is important that the local residents’ concerns are raised by us with all landlords, and in turn, by the landlords with their tenants. We would appreciate your cooperation and any assistance that you can give us by addressing these issues with tenants of your property.
Dr Anne Sheahan Specialist in Public Health Medicine, A/Director of Public Health, Medical Officer of Health AMRIC Division of HPSC and Department of Public Health, HSE South (Cork & Kerry)
John F. McPolin, Chief Superintendent, An Garda Síochána, Cork City Garda Division.
Ann Doherty, Chief Executive, Cork City Council.”