This afternoon Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey chaired a meeting of representatives of Belfast City Council, local elected representatives, the PSNI, and Ulster and Queen’s Universities, to discuss plans in place to prevent large gatherings in the Holylands Area of Belfast, ahead of St. Patrick’s Day.
Speaking afterwards the Minister said:
“This year it is more important than ever that those who live in the Holylands and surrounding areas to adhere to public health guidelines. Breaches of those guidelines are completely unacceptable. At today’s meeting we speak with the collective voice that any planned gatherings are unacceptable and against the regulations and therefore should not take place.”
In the medium and longer term the Minister said there is a need for a joined-up approach to address the wider issues of these areas with the same determination on the part of all the statutory and community partners. She said:
“There is a need for action to address persistent anti-social behaviour, to mitigate the effects of an historic over-provision of houses of multiple occupancy, and to look holistically at what can be done to improve the experience of residents ,including students, in and around these areas.
“There is a clear need for cross-cutting leadership. I am planning the creation of a Strategic Partnership Group with key stakeholders, to examine what can reasonably be done for the Holylands and surrounding areas.”
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