Appeal to Coleraine parents ahead of St Patrick’s Day in Belfast

THE police, in partnership with Belfast City Council, Queen’s University and University of Ulster are advising parents in Coleraine, who may have given permission for their children to stay with siblings or friends in the Holyland area for St Patrick’s Day, to reconsider their decision.

The appeal was made after a multi-agency plan was implemented to tackle anti-social behaviour in the Holyland area of South Belfast ahead of this Saturday’s festivities.

Superintendent Nigel Goddard says: “For any parent that may have given permission for their children to visit the Holyland area of South Belfast on March 17, I would strongly advise them to reconsider this decision.

“As a parent, myself, I understand the aspirations which you have for your children. You want to make sure that, should they wish to, they can avail of any career opportunity. You want to know that they can travel freely, or work abroad.

“What we don’t want to see and what we don’t want parents to have to deal with, is a situation where through some misguided behaviour or high jinx their child ends up with a criminal record, which could restrict their opportunities, both in terms of career and in terms of travel.”

Supt Goddard added: “Police will have a highly visible police presence in the Holyland area of South Belfast. We will be deploying evidence gathering teams on the ground and the information which these teams record will be used in any subsequent investigations.

“Officers will also be seizing alcohol from anyone who attempts to drink on the street and details will be recorded of individuals involved in anti-social behaviour. So involvement in such activity could lead to a police record.”