Holyland residents call on Health Minister to intervene on partying

There are claims that people are travelling into the Holyland area and paying £20 a night to stay there. Credit: UTV

Residents in the Holyland area of south Belfast have called on the Health Minister to directly intervene and crack down on young people partying.

It comes after claims that some people are paying £20 a night to stay there.

Rowan Davidson has lived in the Holyland area for four decades and says even he is shocked by what he's witnessed over the last few days.

"Last night I went out three times, half-nine, half-eleven and half-one, and there were 200-300 students with no social distancing and in clusters of forty to fifty," Rowan told UTV.

This is a time bomb waiting to go off. This will spread covid everywhere.

Rowan Davison, Holyland resident
Rowan Davison has lived in the Holyland area for four decades. Credit: UTV

Rowan continued: "There are people coming in from outside the area who aren't students - it's basically turned into a rave.

"There are hundreds of students out in the street who are drunk, lose all sense of themselves...and what will happen is this will spread covid not only among themselves and among neighbours, but when they go back home.

"If Robin Swann is serious about tackling covid, he better do something about tackling this area."

Catherine McDaid, who is a mother of three, says she fears her postcode will end up in lockdown again. Credit: UTV

Catherine McDaid is a mother of three children, including seven month old twins.

"No shadow of a doubt, our postcode is going to end up in lockdown again," she told UTV.

"They think it's a rave. They're all running around completely out of it."

I burst into tears the other day... I feel like I'm ready for a nervous breakdown. Having three young kids... it's an absolute disgrace I have to live among this.

Catherine McDaid, Holyland resident

There is no hard evidence to prove that some people are paying to party in the Holyland area, but residents say they've noticed an influx of young people.

Residents also accept the majority of students studying in the area are not involved.

Students themselves say breaches are happening everywhere in society

"It seems like everyone is just getting tired of it and just not taking it seriously, so it's more of an annoyance," said one student.

"You can only be panicked about it (coronavirus) for so long, that's what's happened. And I think it's happened to everybody, everyone is lax," another student told UTV.

Both Queen's and Ulster University have said they will not tolerate anti-social behaviour.

Queen's is urging all its students to behave as responsible members of the community, while Ulster warned that any disciplinary action against a student could result in expulsion from their degree.

Arrests over Holyland disorder

A 22-year-old man who was arrested in the Holyland on Monday night has been charged with assaulting a council employee and two police officers.

The same man has also been fined £1000 for breaching the travel quarantine regulations.

Separately, a 20-year-old man arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour is continuing to be questioned by police.

  • Video report by UTV correspondent Sharon O'Neill: