Belfast Telegraph

Drunken disorder as A-level students celebrate results

By Allan Preston

A-level students across Northern Ireland hit the town on Thursday night to celebrate their exam results - but the partying proved too much for some.

One picture taken by the Belfast Telegraph showed a young couple on Royal Avenue, lying slumped on the pavement as crowds gathered on the street.

Outside the SSE Arena, a young woman was left sitting alone on the ground with her head in her arms.

A further drunken scene saw another young woman helping her friend, who had only one shoe, stay on her feet.

Elsewhere in Belfast, four police officers were seen detaining a young man who was wearing no shirt.

The SOS charity bus was at the SSE Arena with 21 volunteers ready to help late-night revellers in need.

Joe Hyland, chief executive of the SOS bus, stayed out until 3am on Friday.

"There were 12 or 13 youngsters that needed our help on board the bus - and some of them were in quite a bad way," he explained.

"But their mums and dads were very grateful when they came to collect them.

"My advice is, boys and girls put £20 in your shoe, so that if you lose your purse you can still get home.

"If you're going out with your friends don't leave them - look after each other."

UUP councillor Jim Rodgers said: "It's most unfortunate for young people who have their life in front of them.

"I know that young people like to celebrate once they get their A-levels, but it can be highly dangerous to get themselves intoxicated in an area where they can get themselves injured or beaten up.

"It's not good for the image of Belfast. I know this happens in quite a few cities and towns, but I would certainly appeal to any young person who wants to enjoy themselves after working so hard that there's other ways to do it besides getting blocked out of your mind, when people can take advantage of you."

Alliance councillor Carole Howard added: "We have a lot of tourists visiting Belfast, so we don't want to be seen as a city that is rowdy and has our young people lying on the street with no one to look after them.

"I would also say to bar owners who see a young kid who has obviously had too much to drink, don't continue to serve them. Joint responsibility is needed here - from the kids themselves, their parents, the police, the council and the bar owners."

SDLP councillor Declan Boyle added: "For the students out celebrating, the key message is to mind their alcohol consumption and not be walking home alone.

"They've worked hard all year, maybe two years, and now they're seeing the fruits of their work. They will be full of exuberance, but still they must remember to be safe.

"It's important for students to stay together and to get taxis to bring them straight to their door."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph