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Nine more arrests after St Patrick's Day mayhem in Holyland area

NewsBy Jamie McDowell
Nine more arrests after St Patrick's Day mayhem in Holyland area
Nine more arrests after St Patrick's Day mayhem in Holyland area
Nine more arrests after St Patrick's Day mayhem in Holyland area
Nine more arrests after St Patrick's Day mayhem in Holyland area
Nine more arrests after St Patrick's Day mayhem in Holyland area
Nine more arrests after St Patrick's Day mayhem in Holyland area

Queen's University and the University of Ulster have been forced to issue a statement acknowledging that their students were involved in rioting and other public order disturbances in the Holyland area during St Patrick's Day celebrations.

A total of 11 people have been arrested so far by police investigating rioting and public disorder in the area.

It was also reported that large groups were taking part in sectarian chanting.

The Holyland trouble did not hinder the atmosphere across Belfast however, as thousands descended on the city to take part in largely jovial and family-friendly celebrations.  

In a joint statement, both universities said: "This societal problem is one which the universities and colleges commit significant time and resources to annually, both in educating, and if necessary, disciplining their students,” they added.

"We very much appreciate and value the sustained support from our partners, including the PSNI, residents and Belfast City Council. In addition, we require the support of parents in ensuring the consequences of such behaviour on their children's futures are made clear, not just to university and college students, but also to those of school age who are coming in to the Holyland area.

"The universities and colleges will continue to be robust in their disciplining of what is a minority of students who are engaging in this type of behaviour.

“Given the breadth of young people involved, we clearly need the full support and action of all stakeholders to effectively deal with this societal challenge going forward."

Chief Superintendent Chris Noble said: "There were numerous reports of anti-social, nuisance behaviour as well as sporadic instances of scuffles and fights among various groups of revellers, both in the student areas and in the city centre.

“A significant police operation was in place to help ensure the festivities passed off in a largely peaceful fashion and, with the exception of a few, most people who attended the city centre parade, or who celebrated independently, did so in a good natured and respectful fashion.”

A cleanup operation was underway this morning.