Enjoy St Patrick’s celebrations but stay safe

  • 17 March 2016

Enjoy St Patrick’s celebrations but stay safe

Police in Belfast are keen to ensure that everyone enjoys the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, but have warned that any unruly behaviour affecting the enjoyment of the majority, caused by people who celebrate to excess, will not be tolerated.

Superintendent Darrin Jones said, “There are a number of events happening around the city, from the 10k road race in the morning through to the carnival parade, so I’m appealing for everyone to listen out for traffic and travel advice and to follow the directions of police officers.

“We have been working alongside partners and event organisers to ensure that appropriate resources and plans are 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 the city has to offer and to do so safely and hope that this year runs as successfully as last year. At the same time, I’m asking all of those with influence in the community to work with us to ensure that all events are equally supported and respected throughout the course of the day.

“In the past, overindulgence in alcohol has led some people to act in a way they would never do when sober. This has previously led to assaults, damage to property and annoyance to others and we are making it clear that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

“I’m also asking parents and guardians to make sure they know where their young people are, what they are doing, and to talk to them 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.

“Young people have every right to enjoy each other’s company and the celebrations, but I would just like to remind them that what might initially seem like fooling about can sometimes get out of hand and end up in a criminal record which can affect travel, education and employment opportunities in the future. It is really important that young people understand this.

“In south Belfast, we are working alongside representatives from both Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, the Belfast Met and local schools, who are proactively encouraging their students to stay off the streets of the Holyland on St Patrick’s Day. We will be carrying out joint enforcement patrols with Belfast City Council’s Antisocial Behaviour Officers to seize alcohol from anyone drinking in the street and to minimise antisocial behaviour in general. In addition, students also risk disciplinary action by their universities, colleges and schools.”

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 the following day, into the weekend.

Licensees/ Publicans should also remind their patrons that designated smoking areas at their premises are not necessarily licensed for consumption of alcohol and any breaches of this by Licensees and patrons alike will be dealt with in the appropriate manner.

People also need to put as much thought into planning how they will get home as they do for their night out.

Remember to -

  • plan your journey home in advance
  • drink responsibly
  • don’t walk through areas you are unsure of
  • stay in well-lit areas
  • stick with your friends
  • never accept a drink from someone you don’t know
  • always have enough money to get yourself home
  • when going out, let people know where you are going and when to expect you home
  • avoid walking alone, particularly after dark; walk in groups in well-lit areas

Superintendent Jones 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.”

St Patrick’s traffic and travel advice

Road users are advised to anticipate some traffic disruption in Belfast on St Patrick’s Day due to a number of events.

The Spar 10k Road race takes Place in Belfast City Centre on St Patricks Day. The Race starts at the City Hall at 9am and finishes at the Titanic Quarter at approximately 10.45am.

Traffic will be disrupted in the area of Belfast City Hall from 8.30am – 9.15am and Traffic delays can also be expected along the route particularly at – Divis Street/ College Avenue/ College Square North and Victoria Street/ Waring Street.

There will be some further disruption to traffic between 11.45am and 1.30pm during the St Patrick’s Day parade in the area of City Hall, Royal Avenue, Donegal Street, Waring Street, Victoria Street, Custom House Square. Arterial routes will remain open and alternative routes will be made available.