Eight arrests after Holyland trouble

Published Friday, 16 March 2012
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Seven men and one woman were arrested in the Holyland area of south Belfast overnight as part of a crackdown on trouble ahead of St Patrick's Day.

Eight arrests after Holyland trouble
Eight people were detained in the Multi Agency Operation. (© UTV)

Police, City Council and university representatives were on the streets of the heavily-populated student area on Thursday to tackle anti-social activity.

Four of the arrests were for disorderly behaviour, with a further one each for drink driving, common assault and possession of a weapon, criminal damage and one bench warrant.

Police and partners will continue to have a visible presence in the area over the weekend.

Chief Inspector Gabriel Moran

People involved in a further six incidents were dealt with 'on the spot' and two reports were made to the Public Prosecution Service for drinking on the street.

"Police along with other partners had an increased presence in the Holyland area last night," said PSNI Chief Inspector Gabriel Moran.

"This operation focussed on creating a safe environment for all residents in this area.

"A number of police interventions were made which resulted in arrests and discretionary disposals being issued.

"I would strongly encourage people to consider the long term consequences of engaging in any anti-social or criminal behaviour."

In March 2009, violence erupted in the Holyland with police pelted with bottles and fireworks.

The situation has calmed in recent years, however some residents remain fearful after this most recent bout of trouble, which comes at the start of a long weekend for students.

Rowan Davidson from the Holyland Residents Association said: "We are fearful that the next two or three days are going to be bad, as opposed to one day last year.

"It cost £80,000 to police one day, we are now talking maybe double or even triple that if our fears are anticipated.

"The amount of resources and money it's taking keeping the lid on this is enormous."

Both Queen's University and the University of Ulster are encouraging students to stay off the streets over the St Patrick's weekend.

They say anyone arrested for anti-social behaviour is likely to face suspension.

Professor Tony Gallagher of QUB said: "Having been on the ground for much of yesterday evening it appears that many students have listened to our advice to go home for the weekend.

"Any Queen's student who is reported to the University for anti-social behaviour will appear in front of a disciplinary panel before Easter."

Professor Alastair Adair of UU said: "The University warned students in the run-up to St Patrick's weekend that any student who is arrested for serious anti-social behaviour would be suspended immediately by the University, pending further investigation and that process could lead to their expulsion."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Eamonn Andrews in Belfast wrote (1,044 days ago):
Why is it every year the same old story crops up. what about the other side,i think people should stop and think about the residents off the area that have to put up with these drunk people.never mind political point scoreing.take decisive action now and let the people in the holy lands live in peace.i dont think for a second that these people who are being anti-social. would not like it if their parents had to witness this year after year. Shame on you. If theseare the people of our future god help us all.
paul in belfast wrote (1,044 days ago):
typical of that lot, bring on the 12th!
Sam Brannigan in south Belfast wrote (1,044 days ago):
Padraig and Henry,Is St Patrick not an all inclusive day for everyone in Ireland North and South?Why are you both refering to the old "them and us" argument?St Patrick was a Christian Englishman ,not Irish and neither Protestant or Catholic.The residents in the Holyland are fed up and rightly so with the antics of drunkards around St Patricks.Of course you are both so bitter that you have to blame the PSNI.I live in the area and from what i see with my perfect eyesight is the Police standing back and if anything being too soft.I hope you both enjoy the rest of your day celebrating Christianity in Ireland.And before you both think i march on the twelth on july,i dont.
Tomc in Belfast wrote (1,044 days ago):
Henry good to see you're back on attempting to wind up the other side with a bit of them and us rhetoric. The point is the Holylands has become a joke. The area was wrecked by some who live there and others who moved in for the day to get involved. The insurance claims alone in the Holylands area were in the hundreds of thousands. If the police did nothing you'd bitch about it. You're right somethings will never change, is that a bit of self reflection?
holylands resident in Belfast wrote (1,045 days ago):
We need better representatives for us residents, the current residents committee leadership is a joke I don't know how they where voted in, all i see is them walking around being arrogant annoying and useless!!
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