University College Cork's Students' Union is urging students to behave responsibly but says it will not be cancelling plans for Freshers' Week.

SU Commercial and Fundraising Officer Beth O'Reilly said even if they cancelled all their events - which are all online this year - it would not stop house parties going ahead.

She was responding to calls from local residents to cancel the annual welcome week for new students to the university in the interests of public health.

Defending the union's decision, Ms O'Reilly said it needs to provide a way for students to reach out and meet new friends. But it will be urging students to stay home and stay safe.

However, Chair of the Residents' Association Catherine Clancy said this is not good enough. 

"It is about perception, it is the message they are giving and this does not show them playing their part.

"We witnessed it last night. There is no such thing as a virtual Freshers' Week, or a virtual queue outside our local shop, or students 'virtually' passing us with slabs of beer in their arms, it is very real for us."

She accepted cancelling Freshers' Week would not put an end to all social gathering but believes it will play a part.

The residents also welcomed the letter sent by University College Cork to students over the weekend warning them not to do anything that could impact on their future.

In a letter issued to the 22,000-strong student body, Acting President John O'Halloran warned students "found to be organising, hosting or attending gatherings, which are in breach of guidelines will be subject to sanction up to and including expulsion from the University, where warranted".

Separately, University College Cork has confirmed that there were some issues with students trying to sign online for classes earlier today.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the college said the problem was fixed by the external software provider within an hour and classes then got under way.

No further problems have been reported.