16/03/2020

Plea For Calm This St Patrick's Day

Students are being urged to cancel any planned gatherings this St Patrick's Day in a bid to prevent further spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Those with prearranged plans in the Holylands area of south Belfast are advised to rethink their celebrations in light of the pandemic.

It comes as Queen's University Belfast announced that all lecture material will be delivered remotely and all face-to-face lectures cancelled from Wednesday onwards.

The PSNI is set to deploy an extra 80 officers to the area on Tuesday to police any celebrations and called on all non-residents to avoid the area.

"We appeal for people to stay out of the Holylands, be safe and responsible during this period," a spokesperson said.

Local MP Claire Hanna joined Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University Student Union Presidents Connor Veighey and Andrew McAnallen to appeal for calm.
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The SDLP MP said: "Cancelled St Patrick's Day celebrations should absolutely extend to the 'informal gathering' in the Holylands. Really important that people- especially those fit, well and with no caring responsibilities approach this pandemic in terms of 'we' and not just 'I' as infections spread between young people can and will be transmitted to older or more vulnerable members of the family and community."

QUBSU president Connor Veighey added: "It is absolutely crucial that we take all personal responsibility and play our part in containing this crisis. I am urging all of our members and everyone else who may be planning to visit the area to consider the risks and instead celebrate the day at home. I am asking you to think about loved ones and those more vulnerable than you and take the necessary precautions in their interests at this time."

UUSU President Andrew McAnallen stated: "Given the rapidly developing situation of COVID-19 and the risk that public gatherings pose to public health, I'm urging all our members to please stay at home and do not put yourself, friends or vulnerable, elderly family members at risk by gathering in groups. Collectively we all must do everything we can to contain the spread of Coronavirus. Please celebrate Saint Patrick's Day responsibly."



(JG/CM)

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