Alliance South Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw MLA has urged everyone to abide by the current public health regulations over the St Patrick’s Day holiday and to stay at home where possible.
The Alliance MLA said non-residents should avoid the Holyland area over the holiday in particular, saying parties would not only be a nuisance to residents but cause fears over health and safety.
“All of us have sacrificed so much during the pandemic and I urge members of the public not to risk community transmission spreading at this stage,” she said.
“The vaccination programme is making great progress and soon the most vulnerable in our society will be protected. To let down our guard now would not only risk extending restrictions, but would also put lives at risk. We all need a break, but please celebrate at home with your household or within your bubble this St Patrick's Day.
“I would like to thank young people for everything they have done to combat COVID-19. The vast majority have acted selflessly and it is a shame a few continue to tarnish others by being so irresponsible. Anti-social behaviour has been a problem in the Holyland for many years, however, recent parties have not only been a nuisance to residents but have caused genuine fears over health and safety. Despite raising this issue on behalf of constituents and working alongside others to cut down on anti-social behaviour, these parties persist.
“The PSNI and the universities appear to have stepped up their measures ahead of St Patrick’s Day, and I hope enough has been done to prevent a spike in community transmission. I would plead with anyone who is not a resident to avoid the area.
“There is a disproportionately large number of houses in multiple occupancy in the Holyland and this exasperates problems. We need a long-term solution from the Executive and not just this reactionary annual response to St Patrick’s Day.”