Residents’ anger at St Pat’s parties

Holylands area of South Belfast.
Holylands area of South Belfast.

Residents in part of south Belfast have repeated their calls for purpose-built student accommodation away from the Holylands following another St Patrick’s Day marred by drunken behaviour.

As the celebrations continued from Sunday into Monday, hundreds of students living in the university area disturbed local residents with round-the-clock street parties.

Ray Farley of the Holyland Regeneration Association said it was unacceptable that students were “creating a nuisance and behaving in an absolutely unacceptable way”.

He said: “We are calling for large-scale purpose-built student accommodation in non-residential areas.”

An online magazine for students in Belfast, ‘The Tab’, had offered advice for those planning celebrations in the city.

Under the heading ‘Holylands house party’, it said the area was “the optimum choice for where your Paddy’s Day celebrations end up”.

It went on to say: “Sofas are carted out into the streets, music is blasted through every open window, and a culchie boy in a GAA shirt clutching a bottle of Buckfast is never far away. If you end your Paddy’s Day at a party in the Holylands, you’ve done yourself proud.”

Mr Farley said the drinking was mainly in the front gardens of houses.

“The noise they are making in the gardens is exactly the same as the noise they make on the street and that just goes on all day and all night,” he told the Nolan Show on Radio Ulster.

Councillor Pat McCarthy said he had “every sympathy” for the residents of the Holylands and called for the recommendations of a report to be implemented.

“For them life is intolerable there. They look forward to the summer break when the students go home, but it all kicks off again every year after freshers’ week.”

The SDLP representative said: “The key to this issue is the Buchanan Report which the council commissioned. We are not seeing any buy-in from the Department of Social Development and it is essential that they become involved. The Buchanan Report said that student accommodation should be dispersed throughout the city.”

Concern over parking tickets

A Sinn Fein councillor in Enniskillen has expressed his frustration at the number of parking tickets handed out in the town during this year’s St Patrick’s Day festivities.

Barry Doherty made a comparison with July 12 and 13, when “neither parking charges nor tickets are applied”.

He said: “I have been contacted by a number of extremely frustrated motorists, who came to Enniskillen to participate in the St Patrick’s Day festivities, some of whom had made the sensible decision to leave their car overnight instead of driving under the influence of alcohol.

“Many had made the presumption that St Patrick’s Day would have been a day on which parking charges would have been set aside.”

A DRD spokeswoman said they recognised the hard work of those organising the event but said it was the responsibility of motorists to park within regulations.

“Any driver who considers they have been issued with a Penalty Charge Notice incorrectly has the right to challenge it with the department,” she added.