Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Nineteen Arrested in Holylands Disturbances

- Gown Team

Police have confirmed that nineteen people have been arrested and detained after the disturbances in the Holylands yesterday afternoon.

Eleven of those arrested remain in custody, of which five have appeared before Laganside court this morning.

Up to 400 young people, students and non-students, are understood to have been involved in the St Patrick's Day incident, centred on Carmel Street in the Holylands. One car was reportedly vandalised, while bricks and bottles were thrown at police on the scene.

The atmosphere is believed to have intensified considerably with the adversarial intervention of the police, who, using dogs and full riot equipment, attempted to restore order in the area.

While much of the publicity has centred on students, one reveler asserted that the first missile thrown at police came from a Belfast youth unattached to either of the main local universities. Heavy street drinking, reportedly sparked by house parties spilling onto the street prompted the initial presence of the police. Another student alleged that the arrest of a female student gave rise to an aggressive response from onlookers.

MP for South Belfast Alasdair McDonnell has called for the expulsion of students involved in yesterday's disturbance in the Holylands area. In a press statement, the university ascertained that those found to have “brought the university into disrepute” would be subjected to the full rigours of the strict off-campus code.

QUBSU president Ciarnan Helferty stated that, “those involved are a disgrace and an example should, and will, be made of them.”

The Gown gauged the reaction of students to yesterday's events. Many made much of the fact that QUB students are bearing the brunt of the bad publicity. According to one student, “Queen's is getting too much flak, Jordanstown is not taking enough responsibility.” Others questioned whether Queen's had responsibility in this matter, with one student deeming it “a case of individual responsibility...if people are going to be morons, they are going to be morons. Queen's can't change that.” By contrast, some students were more sympathetic: “the media has blown it out of proportion. It was just a bit of craic.”

The Gown can confirm that this evening's shift for the Queen's Annual Fund (currently running a telephone fundraising campaign with student callers) has been cancelled due to the bad press caused by yesterday's incident.


Anonymous said...

I do believe that in the media coverage of the disturbances UUJ have escaped much of the criticism. I actually took a walk down Carmel Street today and saw a considerable number of UUJ GAA tops. I suppose the issue will primarily be Queen's responsibility as its in their backyard.

Having said that Queen's students do need to take responsibility for their actions and stop degrading the reputation of students.

Anonymous said...

As a past student of Queen's I feel a bit let down. We can talk all day about what has happened but the real question is were do we go from here?

I'm sorry to say but I think the root cause of this trouble is that as a society were just backward and narrow-minded.

Anonymous said...

I was in a house party on Agincourt Ave all day- great atmosphere- until chavs from Ormeau came up and started bottling police. I don't know what to say; everything seemed OK (on Agincourt, anyway) until the police started coming down from Carmel St. and it went downhill from there.

Anonymous said...

St. Paddy's day was the best day ever. Some craic! Bita singing, bita dancing in old Carmel Street, it's great to see that there is a bit of madness left in the country. as a wise man once said, don't get caught if you are ever throwing anything at the police...

Anonymous said...

It was mostly wee trampy spides doing the rioting, hardly worth the name of a riot, where were the PSNI in Lurgan when there was a real riot going on? I certainly didn't see them in lurgan assaulting people with dogs and batons.

Anonymous said...

a lot of excess alcohol, a lot of outsiders, a lot of morons, and a heavier than needed police presence = what happened on tue

Anonymous said...

1)Because of the location it is inevitable that QUB will be blamed. It is irrelevant whether this is justified or not.
2)QUB has now and in the past made little effort to prevent these events. Whether or not total prevention was possible is a different question
3)QUBSU has recently undertaken a long-overdue review of its structures. Hopefully this might be symbolic of a general acceptance that willful ignorance combined with staff incompetence can only result in disaster. What did they expect?

Anonymous said...

The thing everyone seems to be missing is the holylands isn't a part of the queens or for that matter uuj campus. It's not their responsibility to reprimand people for what they do in their own time off campus grounds. If students go on holidays get drunk and do class A drugs is it up to their universities to step in and hand out punishments? It doesn't matter if you're an inch or mile off their grounds they still have zero jurisdiction.

belfast samizdat said...

Stop blaming the Lower Ormeau. I was there and saw the students throwing bottles and waving pizza boxes to the chant of,
"Pizza!!! We Deliver!!!"

The Holyland is the campus for the universities. It may be privately owned and privately run, but let's not pretend it's something else. Stranmillis is now being demolished house by house to expand the campus now that UUJ are moving into the city centre.

The "Off campus" argument gives the universities deniability for the actions of their students.

I lived in the Holyland for 18 years and it has been destroyed to service the universities. Only 50-80 residents remain. do you think the others left willingly? They were driven out by the actions of students and landlords.

Feel free to peruse my blog for background.


Anonymous said...

The point remains that from a legal stand point its privately owned and as such they don't have a leg to stand on if they want to take serious action over it.

And as to your claim no-one from the lower ormeau was involved I witnessed the car getting wrecked and heard belfast accents from those doing it, and the 30 somethings throwing bottles and eggs at my house were most definitely not students. I'm not saying none were involved as you can't prove a negative, but the majority of students i saw were peaceful before riot squads started chasing them

Marjory Stewart-Baxter said...

Dirty culchie scum. An absolute disgrace to humanity. To blame the police is ridiculious. If any employer was to ask employees to attend that scene they would be failing in their duty of care to send them down in anything other that full health and safety 'riot gear'.

I think henry mcdonald had the right idea in his guardian piece Sectarian, drunken, culchie thugs on a rampage says a lot about the state of the holylands. A modern day republican no-go area.