Tuesday 15 September 2020
Green Party NI Councillor Aíne Groogan has commented on a spike in anti-social behaviour incidents in the Holyland area of South Belfast.
The Councillor for Botanic said: “The spike in anti-social behaviour is entirely predictable at the start of a new University term but it’s also exceptionally dangerous in the midst of a pandemic.
“The public health risks of young people congregating in small spaces at present are huge.
“Huge risk of infection for the young people themselves, their friends and families and for the wider community.
“The Holyland area has been let go to wreck and ruin for many years. The responsibility lies with government at many levels as well as statutory agencies.
“While the quality of life for Holyland residents has been all but destroyed, landlords have profiteered from Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) schemes operating in the area.
“As HMOs and the student population swelled, so did rates of anti-social behaviour, noise nuisance and fly-tipping.
“Rebalancing the Holyland community will not be simple. However, the area was once one of Belfast’s most vibrant, diverse and beautiful and it’s worth saving.
“In this first instance, I want to see the Department of Justice enable a more robust response to anti-social behaviour.
“We don’t have adequate powers to deal with continuing ASB and we are still waiting to see any progress from an ASB review carried out in 2018, particularly around on-the-spot fines and closure powers.
“I’d urge the Justice Minister to bring forward workable legislation to bring our ASB law in line with other parts of the UK.
“The reality is that we won’t and can’t police our way out of this problem. That’s why we must build back better with a Wider University Area multi-agency regeneration plan that puts the needs of communities first.”
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498