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Unacceptable bill for upheaval in Belfast's Holylands

It is alarming to find that the bill to Belfast city council for tackling disorder caused mainly by students over the St Patrick's holiday period earlier this year was approaching £10,000.

When the separate costs for the additional policing of the Holylands area for the same 48 hours are taken into account, it is clear that an unacceptable level of public money is being wasted on dealing with what is effectively an extended alcohol-related party.

While the universities have clearly been making a sustained effort to address the issue, there are concerns about the impact of thousands of young people arriving in the same district next week for Freshers' events ahead of the new term.

If the individuals concerned cannot enjoy themselves without causing widespread upheaval, the authorities will have to take a much more robust stance when St Patrick's Day comes around again next year.

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