Friday, 27 March 2009

Student Protest Blames Police for St.Patrick's Day Disturbances

-Brendan Hughes

Students yesterday protested to highlight their belief that the PSNI was a major cause of the Holylands disturbances on St.Patrick's Day.

At 5.00pm yesterday (Thursday) evening, approximately twelve students lined the main gates to Queen's University. A small gathering of students observed the protest. Three police officers also appeared to oversee events.

The demonstration, organised by the Socialist Worker Student Society, blamed both the police and the University for what happened on St.Patrick's Day.

Daniel O'Boyle, a member of the society, said, "The violence that happened on the day was the result of police heavy-handedness and brutality." He also identified the "core" of the problem as being the failure of Queen's to provide suitable accommodation for its students.

Last week on St.Patrick's Day, up to 400 young people, students and non-students, were involved in an incident centred on Carmel Street in the Holylands. One car was burnt out, while bricks and bottles were thrown at police on the scene. Nineteen people were arrested, and five have been charged in connection with the disturbances.

A female protester, who wished not to be named, believed that how the police treated students on the day was unfair.
"Girls were hit- I have bruises on my arm from them pushing me down the str

Another protester asserted his reasons for participating in the demonstration.
"I want to change the media perception on it- that the police were right. The same scenes happen when there's band parades, especially on 12th July, and there's no riot police out."

Students who observed the demonstration expressed mixed opinions: Student Mark Dunn said, "From this pitiful showing of students from the Holylands...they are merely adding to the reputation that they have put on the university and its students."

Another bystander in support of the protest believed that students are not completely to blame for the problems in the Holylands.
"A lot of the onus is put on students, when a lot of the time residents also provoke the situation", she said, citing her own personal problems with residents in the area.


In a bizarre twist to proceedings, three unusual protesters appeared on the scene; current Students' Union Sabbatical Officers James Murphy and Fergus McAleavey, and newly-
elected VP Equality and Diversity Paul Lilly. The trio began to protest on issues of their own: While Murphy held a placard saying "The world is flat", McAleavey campaigned on behalf of "Gary Breen" being "number 1", leaving Lilly to shout at the top of his lungs, "Would anyone like a cup of tae!?"

Speaking to The Gown, Lilly outlined his reasons for protest.

"One of my key areas in equality and diversity is that there's not enough tea bein' drinkin'. Now, the word I use for it is 'tae'..."

On a more serious note, Lilly, who himself lives in the Holylands, said, "I think (the protest) is going a bit far now. I don't think that the light they are portraying the police in is a correct one."

Daniel O'Boyle desribed the Sabb's actions as a "attempt to trivialise the protest".

"(The Sabbatical Officers') responsibility is to offer and provide leadership and to represent the interests of students, and (here) they don't seem to be doing that at all."

Students' Union President Ciarnan Helferty has, through this blog, invited the Socialist Worker Student Society to take part in a public debate on the issues surrounding St.Patrick's Day.


Anonymous said...

You have to laugh at you drunken thugs tryin to pass the blame. what do you want people to stand by as you wreck the place? sorry it may be mob law in whatever bit of land you hail from but its about time you acted like humans. Any wonder when I tell people I graduated at Queens, that no dont worry I didnt live in the Holylands. You should be embarrassed. "It's not our fault we were blitzed and looking for a fight with the brits"

Anonymous said...

I don't know. 12 students saying police heavy handedness versus 400 student emails complianing about student's behaivour on st paddys day and a council motion passed overwhelmingly by those present. I 'd say our interests are being correctly represented by the sabbs. welldone. HELL SLAP IT UP THEM!!!!

Anonymous said...

And so it begins...Paul Lilly is a loser!

Capital Punishment said...

Haha their puny wee protest was pure pathetic. Bunch of fruits

Anonymous said...

Well done Murphy! Good to see your first campaign of the year went well!

Anonymous said...

Maybe James Murphy should spend his time actually trying to do his job which he has miserably failed in doing so this year rather than trying to insult student protests. I thoroughly disagree with the protestors but Mr Murphy has been hired to do a job and he should get off his lazy arrogant backside and do it!

Anonymous said...

Good to see someone standing up for students against police brutality and underinvestment by the university in accommodation.

What the hell was the Union nonsense thing about tea and the world being flat all about?

Anonymous said...

This is a joke and makes students look even worse.

Anonymous said...

The protest was blaming Queens and Jordanstown for the riots. Every other university in the EU sets aside designated areas for students to live whereas Belfasts university's expect their students to live in overcrowded residential areas such as the holylands where they get burgled constantly and berated for enjoying student life.

Last of the international playboys said...

Michael McGimpsey has just used his Ministerial Question Time to describe QUB as a "bad neighbour" to South Belfast after a question tying alcohol and the holylands.

Frankly I'm pissed off at Queen's taking the brunt of the blame for everything in the Holylands, due to its proximity to it. Most of those arrested on Paddy's day were either non-students up in Belfast for a 'Paddy's Day Rip' or from Jordanstown.

Other student areas do not have the reputation the Holylands has. I don't know what the answer is other than the universities in conjunction with Belfast City Council making CPO's on non-student houses and officially making it a student village. As ridiculous as that sounds, its probably what it would take...

... other than banishing Jordanstown attendees to the northern city boundary.

Anonymous said...

Have the socialists taken Ciarnan up on his offer?

Shoot Em Up said...

To the last anonymous - shut your mouth, they're lucky they aren't homeless sleeping on the streets, just because they're a wee bit crowded doesn't mean they have to sing IRA songs and fight the police, and wave pizza boxes to celebrate the death of the two soldiers. SCUM.
Giving us all a bad name

belfast samizdat said...

"Every other university in the EU sets aside designated areas for students to live "

The refusal of queens and UU to build student accommodation and make 1st years live in it is finally on the public agenda. Unfortunately it is too late for the Holylands. The area has been destroyed. Only 50-80 residents remain, besieged by 7,000 students who clearly don't want them there.

"berated for enjoying student life."

I take it that tormenting and intimidating an entire community out of their homes followed of by a bit of "cultural tradition" sectarian rioting constitutes "enjoying student life.

"I don't know what the answer is other than the universities in conjunction with Belfast City Council making CPO's on non-student houses and officially making it a student village. As ridiculous as that sounds, its probably what it would take..."

I'm afraid you're right. What depraved and cruel mind would suggest imprisoning residents in that environment any longer. Build them new homes. It's the least they deserve.

Anonymous said...

students are teenage spoilt middle class brats, if mummy n daddy really knew what my lil johnny or my lil mary where up too...

Anonymous said...

The 12 students involved in this ridiculous protest are clearly complete idiots. It is amazing that such a large number of uni - educated people could be so moronic.
What a terrible image this would be for QUB, if its image wasn't so bad already anyway
In any case there will never be any expulsions because of QUB admin incompetence

interested observer said...

It's great to see the SU taking such a strong stand against the unlawful false imprisonment of students in the holylands area. Oh, wait...

And as for shoving people into random student houses to get them off the street, god only knows what type of risk they were exposing the householders to.

Another pathetic spineless response from both the SU and queens itself, just pandering to the populist press.

Just for the record, I was not involved in the disturbances, nor the protests. I have just observed the reaction to this (from the relative safety of stranmillis). Imagine if the same tactics were used in response to disturbances on the falls or shankhill? There would be uproar, and rightly so. But no, there's no uproar here, because sure it's only students. And when a few people voice their annoyance at this, all our representatives can do is mock. It's pathetic.

Anonymous said...

"belfast samizdat" get a grip:

"destroyed", "besieged", "tormenting", "intimidating", "imprisoning"??!!!

You're not the fucking daily mail.

belfast samizdat said...

I think you'll find that the police showed exceptional restraint. Contrast this with their brutal violence against protesters on the Ormeau Road.

This is the first time the police have stood up to the tyranny of these people.

There are only one or two residents left in Carmel Street. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a pensioner imprisoned in your own home while the things we've seen on YouTube took place outside your front door? What if you were a family? How would children feel?

Do such concerns exist for the rioters?

Bourgeoisie said...

The Socialist Workers Party lol! What a funny name considering many of them are unemployed. Get a job before you call yourself a worker!

Attila the Hun said...

I never had problems with students misbehaving...

The Provisionally New Continuity Real QUB Student Volunteer Defence Association said...

Just goes to show how moronic our elected Union representatives are.

Mocking protest over student concerns.

Mocking the voluntary work which is carried out by students.


And we haven't even got into 09/10... oh the joys of waiting to see how little they can do in one year, get paid for it and what's even worse.. get away with it.

Down with the Union!

Anonymous said...

Here here, Mr P. Liley's position needs to be reassessed in one's humble opinion

Anonymous said...

The new issue is awesome. Really really really. Three reallys, it must be awesome. Really.