Northern Ireland

St Patrick's Day: School pupil Holyland warning

rubbish in the holylands
Image caption Rioting and drunken street parties have marred the occasion in the area in the past

A letter has been issued to 150 post-primary schools warning sixth-formers not to spend St Patrick's Day in the Holyland area of south Belfast.

The letter was sent by Queen's University Belfast, Ulster University, Belfast City Council and the PSNI.

Rioting and drunken street parties have marred the occasion in the area in the past.

The letter says it has emerged many of those causing trouble were from post-primary schools.

Image caption The letter says many of those causing trouble in the past were from post-primary schools

"On recent St Patrick's Days there have been incidents of serious anti-social behaviour, accompanied by significant levels of drunkenness, in the Holyland area of south Belfast," the letter says.

"Drunkenness"

"This type of trouble was largely attributed to university students, but it subsequently emerged that many of those causing trouble in the Holyland on St Patrick's Day were from post-primary schools.

"If you are thinking of going to the Holyland over the St Patrick's Day period, perhaps because you have friends or family there, I would urge you to think again and do not go there.

"If you do opt to go to the Holyland and you do fall foul of the law, then you should be very clear that you could end up in serious difficulties, including the risk of getting a criminal record.

"Enjoy celebrating St Patrick's Day, but please enjoy it responsibly, and stay away from the Holyland area. Please don't put your future at risk."

It adds there will be a significant police presence assisted by Belfast City Council officers patrolling the Holyland district over the period.