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St Patrick's Day is for everyone to enjoy

Stephen Oreilly

WHILE there were thankfully no reports of large-scale confrontations with police which have been witnessed in the Holylands area of Belfast on previous St Patrick's Days, PSNI arrest records from Saturday would indicate that there is more work to be done in ensuring the day is enjoyed by all and not spoiled by some who behave in a disorderly fashion.

A police spokesman acknowledged that the vast majority of people attending events in the city did so in a 'good-natured' and 'respectful' way but added that officers had 'responded to numerous reports of unacceptable anti-social conduct and young people drinking in the public street'.

Students renting accommodation in the area have in the past been held responsible for some of the disturbances and disorderly behaviour, much to the annoyance of residents who live in the area all year around and not just during term-times of the universities.

It is too early to say if students played a significant part in any of this year's misbehaviour. Hopefully they will have taken heed of warnings from the various agencies and the PSNI.

Four people area due to appear in court in the coming weeks and there is the possibility that number could be added to given that more than 20 were arrested in total.

It is important that young people realise just what a chance they are taking with their future by breaking the law, whether they are students or not. An arrest and possible criminal conviction could have long lasting effects on their lives for years to come.

It would seem that the St Patrick's Day celebrations in the Holylands area were by no means the worst in terms of disruption to the lives of residents, but any disruption is unacceptable and on that basis it is important that efforts continue to make sure that everyone can have a happy St Patrick's Day in future years.

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