Belfast Telegraph

Boozing student hordes need to learn lessons in decent behaviour

By Nuala McKeever

The good people of Newry and Mourne District Council area were offended last week by an advertisement encouraging people not to let their dogs defecate in public without cleaning up after them. Loads took to the council website to protest the video of a man squatting and appearing to poop on the street. The strapline saying, "STOP! You wouldn't crap in the street, so why let your dog crap on Newry and Mourne?", was deemed too extreme by many rate-payers.

I understand how they feel. It IS horrible to look at images of grown people keekin' all over your area. At least theirs was only an actor and the act was only pretend.

Sadly, we in Belfast have to endure the sight of young people (many of whom come from the Newry and Mourne area) coming on to our streets and fouling them up with drinking, littering, anti-social behaviour and intimidation.

Give me all the dogs of Newry and Mourne any day if the people of that area and other country areas will take back their students who attend Queen's and University of Ulster in Belfast.

I'll pick up the doggy poo if the residents of NI will pick up the broken bottles and the broken furniture left strewn around the streets of this beautiful part of my city.

How dare these kids come here and feel entitled to trash the place?

And where the heck are the PSNI and Queen's and the University of Ulster when all this is happening?

Last week was St Patrick's day and that was a low point.

It spilled into the next day too. I drove through the Holylands at two in the afternoon and there were hordes of students roaming around in packs, casually wandering on to the road, where cars were crawling at 5mph for fear of knocking down one of the little darlings.

Broken glass lay on the ground while young children played nearby.

Music blared, students shouted in what I presume was English - due to their drunkenness and their impenetrable culchie accents I couldn't make out what they were saying but I doubt they were exchanging interesting facts learned at uni.

What is Queen's doing about this? It's illegal to drink in the street in that area. How can students feel perfectly easy about wandering around in the middle of the day carrying bottles and six packs, obviously drunk and being anti-social?

Three years ago there was a huge hoo-ha after trouble on St Patrick's day. Lots of promises were made then about monitoring and stewarding the area. Nothing's changed. The same unacceptable behaviour was taking place last week.

And, according to residents in the area, it goes on every week in term time.

How hard would it be for Queen's and the police to take a zero tolerance approach?

Any student drinking on the street is automatically expelled from the university and excluded from the area. Let their mammies and daddies take care of the spoilt, smug, entitled offspring whose lives they worked so hard to improve.

If education is worth anything, it must be delivered on a foundation of respect for others. It's possible these students are the individuals who will be running the country in years to come.

What goes on in the Holylands isn't a wee bit of high jinx, it's an ongoing, insidious flouting of the law and an insult to the community as a whole.

Maybe with the money it saves from not supporting the festival in future, Queen's can do something about getting rid of the disgustingly behaved students that drag its reputation into the gutter.

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