Despite scenes of chaos at this year’s Unofficial RAG Week, students were much better behaved compared to last year. Shannon McNamee and Jessica Thompson report…
For the second year running, unofficial RAG week has gone ahead in Galway, despite warnings from both NUI Galway and Galway Mayo IT (GMIT).
Videos of riotous scenes have gone on the internet, showing hundreds of people crowded outside Supermac’s on Eyre Square creating mayhem with some people even attempting to climb up posts.
A fight broke out between a student and a bouncer in Supermac’s on Tuesday night, and videos of this fight have been posted online. The late night food joint is claustrophobic with roaring students and one of them is physically fighting with a bouncer.
When the video starts, the bouncer has a student by the scruff of the neck. However, as the video does not start until this point, it is impossible to say how the incident began. The student is then escorted out of the restaurant by a number of bouncers who struggle to take control of him.
Numerous comments were posted on Facebook about the video, many of them expressing anger and disgust at the actions of the bouncers.
One Facebook user said; “The bouncer is sober and should be more responsible than that; they’re not allowed to hit people, just restrain them. I hope he gets done for this [because] don’t work as a bouncer if you can’t control your temper [sic].”
While many comments were insulting towards Supermac’s management and the bouncer in question, others were defending him.
One comment on the video read; “If you analysed the video properly, you’d see that the bouncer retaliated to a punch being thrown, and he was probably acting within his powers. Videos like this only show one side of the story; if Supermac’s cameras are checked, I’d say your man will be the one that’ll be done for assault in the first place.”
Supermac’s is no stranger to late night shenanigans from drunken, misbehaved youths. Last year’s RAG week saw the fast food restaurant invaded by hundreds, if not thousands of students over the week.
One such video last year showed the lighting of a flare while students shouted and sang around it. Another showed large crowds in Supermac’s singing loudly and out of the control of the manager. A third video that went viral showed the borderline harassment of a female guard who was subject to students dancing around her singing “Who’s a sexy Garda?”
In a mass email sent prior to Unofficial RAG week, NUI Galway students were reminded of the consequences of any breaches to the code of conduct in relation to RAG week, including “behaviour that would bring the University name into disrepute.”
NUI Galway and GMIT’s student bodies both voted in 2011 for the week to be cancelled following a number of anti-social occurrences and complaints from Galway residents.
The celebrations began on Sunday night and continued until early Friday morning, each night bringing more work for local businesses and the Gardai.
The crowds were not only made up of Galway students. Busloads of young people from all across the country invaded Galway to partake in the notorious week of drinking that has not been short of drama, or appearances on the news for the past couple of years.
A Facebook page entitled RAG WEEK Galway 2013 has attracted over 4,200 visitors and initiated 18 February as the date for the celebrations to begin. The page has since been taken down and has been largely disapproved of by the NUI Galway and GMIT Students’ Unions.
Paul Curley, president of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union spoke on the issue; “I’m in town now and I’m watching two full busloads of people come in. I’ve seen on Facebook that people from all around the country are coming to Galway for this. There are supposed to be buses coming from Letterkenny, Kildare, Limerick and Athlone.”
Although this may seem like complete pandemonium, the Gardaí have confirmed that the degree of hassle from last year was not repeated.
Extensive operations were carried out by the Galway city Gardaí to ensure that any anti-social behaviour was tackled accordingly.
Extra Gardaí were out patrolling the streets making their presence evident, for what was expected to be a week full of substance abuse, violence and arrests.
However a spokesperson from the Gardaí has said that this year there was “none of the hassle seen before” and “very few arrests [were] made”.