Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Holyland residents' angry at rowdy street parties

By Brett Campbell

Holyland residents have expressed outrage after being forced to endure a "weekend from hell" as hundreds of young people partied on the streets of the south Belfast neighbourhood.

Chair of College Park Avenue Residents' Association Brid Ruddy believes the "nightmarish weekend of harassment and intimidation" was the result of a "toxic mix" of glorious sunshine, concerts and graduations.

"Music blasted from Friday night right through to Sunday as massive numbers of young people drank and danced on at least six different streets," she said.

The community worker, who has lived in the area for 30 years, slammed Belfast City Council and the police for being invisible during the marathon parties in the area, largely populated by students, which spanned three days. Residents also reported disturbances on the nearby Ormeau Road.

"There were up to 40 people partying on the smaller streets so we are talking about a couple of hundred people in total - some of them were sitting on the roofs," Ms Ruddy said.

"I phoned the police and the council but they didn't do a thing.

"I was told that only three police cars were available in the area and that the incident was low down the priority list."

The council confirmed that its night time noise service dealt with a complaint in the Palestine Street area on Saturday evening.

The exhausted resident, who normally looks forward to four months of peace when students are on summer holiday, said law and order no longer existed in the area.

"Local families are living in fear - we couldn't leave our houses over the weekend without getting verbally abused on the street. Young mothers were weary-eyed as they pushed buggies through a sea of broken glass over the weekend," she claimed.

Ms Ruddy, who recently returned from visiting a student area in Nottingham, questioned why the authorities in Belfast struggled to "get a grip" on out of control anti-social behaviour which has blighted the area for years.

"Nottingham is a university town and stuff like this is unheard of there. They have enforcement officers who work round the clock and are visible at weekends," she said.

"Landlords and our elected representatives here don't seem to be capable of doing anything but they are the ones who need to take the lead.

"The universities are limited in what they can do outside of term time."

Another resident described how he was prevented from sleeping on Saturday night as a result of "crazy" parties.

"I didn't sleep a wink and had to be in work for 7am. Sunday was a very long day for me," he said.

"The place was swarming with young people who were drinking and dancing on the street - it's been nuts around here for weeks."

A third resident said the area has been "crawling" with young revellers for weeks as a result of the nearby Belsonic music festival in Ormeau Park.

"There has been a lot of impromptu gatherings outside houses," he added.

"It's actually quite strange because a lot of students have left at this time of year."

The rowdy behaviour comes almost three months after residents expressed cautious optimism following a relatively peaceful St Patrick's Day.

The PSNI did not respond to a request for with comment.

Belfast Telegraph

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