Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.15 20 Jul 2020


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In the wake of the recent increase in new coronavirus cases in the past few weeks, much of the attention has turned to how young people are responding to the ongoing restrictions and guidelines.

The issue of house parties has been one area of particular concern, with new rules announced last week limiting the number of people who can visit a home to 10 people from no more than four households.

But what do young people themselves think of the current situation, and how have they been responding to the recent easing of restrictions?

For The Pat Kenny Show, reporter Siofra Mulqueen spoke to students and other young people in Galway about their views.

From house parties to holidays: How do young people feel about the current COVID restrictions?

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Many of them are taking the situation very seriously, and voiced concerns about how others have been 'lax' about the rules.

One man explained: "People are being extremely, extremely careless at the moment - a second wave is inevitable in my point of view.

"I think everyone is extremely lax and chill about this, when they really shouldn't be."

Another said: "I do think a second wave or another spike is going to happen if people are being too loose with it. I love that pubs have opened back up... but it is a bit bad. It is hard to social distance in them.

"Then when all the American airlines and other countries are flying in without quarantining properly... I think it's quite bad."

However, others noted how difficult the past few months have been - and said they're still following the rules, but not to the same extent as during lockdown.

One woman said: "I think I've definitely eased off a bit. At the very start, my grandparents were cocooning completely - I was completely keeping my distance from them. I was talking through a window.

"I just feel now everyone's just kind of fed up of it... we still keep our distance when we go inside, especially with the elderly."

Another suggested: "At the very start when it was 'go no more than two kilometres' - I was sticking to it, and only going to work or whatever.

"As soon as you're allowed, of course you're going to try to get out and meet your friends you haven't seen for ages."

Drinking and house parties

According to one of the young people, some of his friends have gone on "an absolute bender" - and he's stayed away from them since.

He said: "It's been in the back of my head: I probably shouldn't be hanging around with them for a little while.

"They just don't really see it as as important as I do."

Another observed: "Myself, I've been a bit lax about it: I've met up with different groups, and went camping and stuff. In the back of my mind after, I felt really guilty about it, and now I'm a bit more cautious.

"A lot of people I'm friends with have been a bit stupid - booking holidays over to Portugal. Why not just chill out, stay in Dublin, go around Ireland, like what we're doing?"

There was a mixed response on the issue of house parties - many acknowledging the risks that meeting up in groups poses, while also voicing their concerns about how difficult it is to follow the guidelines.

One said: "I think young people can't be painted with the same brush.

"[People] saw one party with some young people... I know older men who have gone to shed parties drinking pints, and nobody is scolding them.

"Everyone I know personally - and I can only speak for people I know - are still trying their best."

Another noted: "If you're meeting up with your friends for the first time in a while, sitting two metres apart... it's not going to work.

"I don't know what sort of houses other people come from, but you can't fit 50 people, two metres apart, even out in a marquee."

One female student said a lot of people have now moved back to the cities where they go to college - considering that as their 'holiday' before the new academic year begins.

She said: "There's been so few new cases in so many parts of the country.

"There's this idea that there's going to be another full lockdown - so it's kinda like meet up as much as you can before next thing we're all locked up again."

Main image: File photo of Galway City. Picture by: Peter Zoeller/Zuma Press/PA Images

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