Ulster University warns anti-social St Patrick’s Day revellers may be dismissed

There were disturbances in the Holylands on St Patrick's Day last year
There were disturbances in the Holylands on St Patrick's Day last year

St Patrick’s Day revellers who engage in anti-social behaviour may be dismissed from their studies, Ulster University warned.

Vice-Chancellor Paddy Nixon said he was extremely concerned about behaviour by a minority of students in the Holyland area of South Belfast.

Belfast students have been warned of an increased police presence on the streets ahead of Friday’s festivities.

Mr Nixon said: “I am not prepared to allow such unacceptable behaviour to continue, so we will apply the severest sanctions possible, up to and including dismissal from the university.”

Street disturbances and anti-social behaviour have bedevilled the Holyland area at this time of the year for some time.

The area behind Queen’s University is full of student housing.

Five local off-licences are to close voluntarily for some time on St Patrick’s Day.

Mr Nixon said: “Ulster University will not tolerate any form of anti-social behaviour by students.

“Reports made to us over the forthcoming St Patrick’s Day period by the PSNI and Belfast City Council will be fully investigated.

“Any Ulster University student found to have brought this institution into disrepute will be referred for disciplinary action, which may mean immediate precautionary suspension while the matter is investigated.”

He added: “I do not want any Ulster student to face criminal convictions for anti-social behaviour or find themselves facing disciplinary action as this will have a long-term impact on their chosen career path.”

Queen’s and Ulster University have said the majority of those who travelled to the Holyland on St Patrick’s Day are post-primary pupils or non-students.

Several Ulster University students have been disciplined for engaging in anti-social behaviour in recent years.

Mr Nixon added: “Not only are some students placing themselves at great personal risk, the negative impact of anti-social behaviour on local communities does nothing to demonstrate the value of the wider student community or the positive contribution of this university locally and globally.”