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Cyprus Avenue-style concert suggested as a solution to St Patrick's Day debauchery

Councillor and landlord Declan Boyle clearing up in the Holylands after St Patricks Day. Picture by Mal McCann

A CYPRUS Avenue-style concert in south Belfast's Holylands next St Patrick's Day could avert some of the worst excesses which again led to violent street violence this year.

Holylands landlord Declan Boyle has suggested taking over Rugby Road for a `big name' gig to focus the revelry of students determined to mark the saint's day with a party in the area.

Mr Boyle, who is also an SDLP councillor, is to put the suggestion to colleagues at Belfast city council in an attempt to secure a headliner in time for March 17, 2017.

"This goes round every year," he said as he cleared rubble from outside his properties.

"When you do the same thing and expect a different outcome your expectations aren't right. This needs to be managed properly, needs to be addressed properly.

"To imagine you are going to get a number of people into an area and not plan for it and have the facilities for it is asking for trouble."

He criticised Queen University's decision to "create a reading week" in an attempt to disperse students back home.

"There is no point closing the university for three days and saying `Go home for a reading week'. That is sending the wrong message out.

"The university should be carrying on as normal."

Mr Boyle said that students are in the area to stay and efforts should be made to manage them within the area, rather than try to drive them out over the bank holiday.

"There are a relatively large number of 18 to 22-year-olds in one area, that's where they want to be and that's where they live.

"In that case we put something on for them here in the area. There's no point having a parade in the city centre and expecting them to go. They don't want to.

"I think if we look into something like the Van Morrison concert last year. Now it's a different age group, but we put on Tennent's Vital every year and it's a great success - OK, you could hear the Foo Fighters in Comber, but it's a short period of time an then it's over and there are no major problems."

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