Universities and landlords must do more to curb the “totally disgusting” anti-social behaviour in the Holylands area of Belfast, Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has said.
Ms Bradshaw also singled out the Housing Executive and Belfast City Council for what she described as a failure to “step up their game” and reassure residents their concerns are being taken seriously.
The Holylands area, home to a substantial student population, has witnessed “almost 200 reports of anti-social behaviour” since the beginning of freshers’ week, according to the South Belfast MLA.
Ms Bradshaw said the anti-social behaviour included “racist abuse being hurled at Romanians, on-street drinking and noise pollution”.
She said: “It is totally disgusting the permanent residents of the Holyland have had to tolerate such anti-social and disruptive behaviour with the return of students yet again.
“However, unfortunately it was entirely predictable by anyone even remotely familiar with the ongoing situation there. The people in question have been let down by the statutory agencies, universities and landlords.
“Among that group, the Housing Executive manages the Landlord Registration Scheme and has powers to inspect allegations of breaches of it.
“If landlords found their properties excluded from the scheme, it would focus their attention on resolving the issues in the area.
“Belfast City Council also has a wide range of powers to intervene, with sanctions and penalties carrying substantial fines. An upgrade of the CCTV available in the Holyland would also be a method to reassure residents their concerns are being taken seriously, which at the moment is not the impression being given by many stakeholders there.”