With a number of events taking place in Belfast on St Patrick’s Day, Police are encouraging those visiting the city to celebrate safely and have warned that any unruly behaviour caused by people who celebrate to excess, will not be tolerated.

Road users are advised to anticipate some traffic disruption and plan for potential delays in Belfast due to a number of events. Runners participating in the SPAR Craic 10K will leave Belfast City Hall at 9am, before finishing at Ormeau Park. A Traffic Management System and signage will be in place and motorists should follow directions of Police, any signage and exercise caution along the route.

Then from midday through to 2pm, traffic disruption can be expected as the St Patrick’s Day carnival parade gets ready to leave from City Hall, before traveling along Chichester Street and Victoria Street, into High Street and Donegall Street, finishing near Writers Square.

Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said, “In addition to a number of planned cultural and sporting events, we expect licensed premises, parks and other attractions will be busy.

“We have been working alongside partners and event organisers to ensure we all have the right resources and plans in place for the St Patrick's Day celebrations, to ensure it is a day of enjoyment for everyone.

“I would urge residents and visitors to the city to enjoy all that Belfast has to offer and to do so safely. As we have seen previously, overindulgence in alcohol has led some people to act in a way they would never do when sober. This can lead to assaults, damage to property and annoyance to others. This behaviour will not be tolerated.

“Alongside our colleagues from Belfast City Council, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, the Belfast Met and local schools, we have again been working hard to highlight that the Holyland area of south Belfast is a residential area – NOT a party or nightlife destination.

“Our message to young people is to celebrate the holiday away from the residential streets of the Holyland area, for their own safety but also to protect local residents who are feeling particularly vulnerable as this St Patrick’s Day approaches.

“Parents and guardians should know where their young people are going and if they are planning to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Belfast that they only attend officially organised events and stay away from the Holyland area. We are keen to ensure that all young people are aware of the risks associated with criminal and anti-social behaviour, for their safety and future educational and career prospects.”

“I’m also asking parents and guardians to talk to their young people about the impact of underage drinking and the danger of getting caught up in the moment and the possible outcomes they could face if they are found committing any offences. “

Police are also advising those intending to go out for a few drinks to leave their cars at home and use an alternative means of transport. Drink-driving laws will, as always, be robustly enforced – during St Patrick’s Day and across the weekend.

Chief Inspector Kirkpatrick added, “We want everyone to have an enjoyable, peaceful and crime free day. We would like everyone to enjoy the Public Holiday and would ask that all act responsibly, think of others and have a great St Patrick's Day.”

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