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Belfast Holyland street party latest in resident's 'living nightmare'

Two held as police probing breaches attacked


Gathering: Footage of the revellers in Belfast student area

Gathering: Footage of the revellers in Belfast student area

Gathering: Footage of the revellers in Belfast student area

Two teenagers were arrested after the PSNI was called to deal with a large crowd partying on the street in Belfast's student quarter.

It happened in Agincourt Avenue in the Holyland area in the early hours of yesterday.

Officers were subjected to verbal abuse and had a number of bottles thrown at them.

An 18-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour and possession of an offensive weapon, and a 19-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour.

Both have since been released pending a report to the PPS.

As well as the arrests, officers issued six COV4 tickets (fines starting at £200) and three COV3 prohibition notices.

Long-time Fitzroy Avenue resident Michael Carter (47) said anti-social behaviour by students had become intolerable.

"It's a living nightmare, to be honest with you," he said.

"Sometimes I can't even stay in the flat because you can't get sleeping. You get tired of phoning the police and other numbers. It takes over your life, you can't live properly in your own home. There's other residents who say they're up to their eyes because of the noise and the parties.

"One told me they saw a student walking down the street with a boom box playing at full blast at around 11pm at night."

He said the pandemic meant he felt he would be putting himself at risk if he went out to confront them.

He added: "I think the police take a softly-softly approach in the Holyland. The excuse I hear is: 'We don't want to ruin their future prospects'. But it's all right for them to ruin people's lives."

He said he knew of one woman living on nearby Carmel Street who moved out of her flat after just three weeks due to the noise.

"That's an absolute disgrace. There's children living in the area, they have to put up with that and they often can't play on the street due to the noise and broken bottles," he added.

"People getting let down by the statutory bodies... the police, Belfast City Council and the universities. It can't go on. Enough is enough."

Sinn Fein's John Gormley strongly condemned what happened.

The Botanic councillor said: "The scenes that were witnessed last night in parts of the Holyland area were completely reckless and disgraceful.

"Having spoken to some local residents, there was genuine concern and fear as crowds partied in the street and attacked the PSNI.

"This behaviour needs to end immediately. Residents of the Holyland must be allowed to live free from this type of anti-social behaviour.

"We also are in the midst of a health pandemic and Covid-19 is continuing to spread rapidly within local communities and devastating families.

"Street parties and gatherings have the potential to spread the virus and cause further heartache in our community.

"I am appealing to those responsible to please stop this reckless behaviour and prioritise the health and wellbeing of themselves, their friends and local residents by following the public health guidelines.

"Sinn Fein will continue to actively work for a radical and lasting solution to the issues in the Holyland area, including addressing the huge predominance of houses in multiple occupation and other private rented accommodation, which have been detrimental for the environment and community cohesion."

Belfast Telegraph