Flag protest and St Patrick’s revellers in Belfast

Belfast city centre on St Patrick's Day.
Belfast city centre on St Patrick's Day.

Four people celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Belfast yesterday were arrested for public order offences, police said.

A 15-year-old male was arrested in Royal Avenue on suspicion of disorderly behaviour and was still being questioned yesterday evening.

At Castle Street, a 57-year-old man was arrested shortly after lunchtime on suspicion of disorderly behaviour, resisting police and assault on police.

Later in the afternoon, a 23-year-old male was detained in the Donegall Place area in relation to a common assault on a 32-year-old man.

A 20-year-old man was arrested in the Agincourt Avenue area of the city shortly after 4pm on suspicion of disorderly behaviour.

The Union Flag yesterday flew alongside the Cross of St Patrick from Belfast City Hall.

But despite the flag flying for the day, Union Flag protesters brought their usual Saturday protest to the gates of City Hall for St Patrick’s Day.

Several protesters declined to be interviewed by the News Letter, alleging that they had received death threats.

However, one said that they were there to show that St Patrick’s Day “isn’t just for Catholics”.

Sinn Fein claimed that some of the protesters harassed and verbally abused people attending an Irish language event.

Councillor Caoimhin Mac Giolla Mhin said: “Some of the protesters then tried to get into City Hall in an effort to disrupt the cultural celebration.

“It’s ironic that St Patrick’s Day is one of the designated days when the Union Flag flies in Belfast.

“And given that the flag protests are normally held on Saturdays, it’s clear that the intent today was to provoke and create tension.”