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Children as young as 10 attended illegal south Belfast party broken up by police

Roden Street raid follows crackdown student area as St Patrick's Day fears increase

Young children were at an illegal house party disrupted by police, it has emerged.

The shocking news comes as fines of £9,000 were doled out on Tuesday, bringing to £20,000 the total in penalties issued in just two nights, mostly in the Holyland student area of south Belfast.

Officers said there were at least 40 people at Roden Street, off Donegall Road, with both adults and children aged as young as 10 present, flouting Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

Meanwhile, exasperated residents have called on universities to urge their students to go home in the run-up to St Patrick's Day.

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Campaigner Brid Ruddy said it was also time for Belfast City Council to take action to address the situation, which is spiralling out of control ahead of March 17, traditionally a problematic time for Holyland residents.

"What are students doing in this area when they're supposed to be remote learning?" she said.

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Police deal with a second night of parties in the Holyland area of Belfast on March 2nd 2021

Police deal with a second night of parties in the Holyland area of Belfast on March 2nd 2021

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Police deal with a second night of parties in the Holyland area of Belfast on March 2nd 2021

"The universities should be urging them to go home when there are no physical classes.

"Residents want the students to go home unless they need to be here for their courses.

"There are parties every night. Young people are wandering in and out of each other's houses.

"Residents also want the council to get landlords to close down the party houses."

Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said police visited a party at Roden Street "where they located at least 40 people inside, a mix of adults and children, some aged as young as 10 years old".

"Four Covid 2 notices, 32 Covid 4 £200 fines and six community resolution notices were issued. One person is to be reported to the Public Prosecution Service," he added.

Mr Kirkpatrick also said police visited another address at Agincourt Avenue, in the Holyland, issuing two Covid 2 notices and 13 Covid 4 £200 fines.

Five individuals are also to be reported to the PPS.

"Over the last two nights, in south Belfast, we have taken enforcement action attracting a total of £20,000 in fines," he said.

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Police deal with a second night of parties in the Holyland area of Belfast on March 2nd 2021

Police deal with a second night of parties in the Holyland area of Belfast on March 2nd 2021

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Police deal with a second night of parties in the Holyland area of Belfast on March 2nd 2021

"It's really hard to believe this type of irresponsible behaviour continues."

Queen's University said students should only be in the area to study.

"All students have been advised to avoid unnecessary travel and only travel to the university area if necessary for their studies," it said.

"The university fully investigates any complaints or reports of anti-social behaviour.

"A strict off-campus disciplinary code is in place, and if any Queen's student is found to have brought the university into disrepute they will be subject to the full rigours of this code.

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Police deal with a second night of parties in the Holyland area of Belfast on March 2nd 2021

Police deal with a second night of parties in the Holyland area of Belfast on March 2nd 2021

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Police deal with a second night of parties in the Holyland area of Belfast on March 2nd 2021

"The university also has stringent disciplinary measures in place for students who breach the Covid-19 public health guidelines, resulting in automatic suspension for 14 days."

Ulster University said it was urging students to stay at home, behave responsibly and to "consider the risks of engaging in anti-social behaviour".

It added: "We have also advised students of public health guidelines which state that unnecessary travel should be avoided."

Belfast City Council said it didn't have powers to close down party houses, but it did have powers to control noise.

"Our noise team can be contacted on 028 9037 3006," it said.

Belfast Telegraph


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