Easter Safety in Belfast

City Centre Opening and Closing Times for Bars Theatres,Clubs.
Belfast Telegraph April 7 2015) ‘Safety fears for City a Centre
Respectfully there is concern by Declan Boyle of the SDLP for the man in his fifties whose early Easter Sunday attack injuries were extremely severe with him ‘battling’ for his life as the Belfast Telegraph page two article conveys.
We learn (Belfast Telegraph April 7 2015) ‘Safety fears for City a Centre‘ of the incident in Belfast City Centre and the fact there are continual incidents some also grave at the junction of Donegall Place, Castle Place and High Street at a food outlet open 24/7.

The Councillor it is reported is quoted as saying. ‘This part of the town has been well-known as a trouble spot as people gather there late at night. ‘While I don’t knowthe quote from SDLP Councillor, Declan Boyle goes on, ‘ if drink was a factor in this incident,’ clearly true, ‘broadly speaking when large groups of people gather like this at this time of night,’ the reported time in the Belfast Telegraph is 12.30am. ‘then they have been drinking and trouble can occur unfortunately.’ More quotes follow from the Councillor continuing with an appeal for witnesses to come forward with him sincerely wishing the man recovery.
It is apparent the Police Service have not been a significant enough presence in this very central location to deal and control behaviours and also the SOS bus service etc. having its voluntary services curtailed is presumed to be another factor in Safety and Care. Every wish is held for the speedy and fully recovery of the injured. Other less reported incidents are most likely to have happened over the weekend.

The DUP Councillor Brian Kingston is alive to the fact.
It follows on from last weeks reports of Belfast having returned to a place where it is found unsafe to socialise regardless of the Councillors wishes for its ‘reputation’. The footage of a Bars increases in some areas and will get to have more dominance within the City with concentrations of populous in certain quarters. The eight quarter coming to the Council who can’t add up.
Except when it comes to pretentious rhetoric.

This is an act of violence perpetrated in our town at a time when many places are on the point of closing or when the clearing up process and transport connections, food outlets are at the peak of activity. With ‘Easter’ times of opening being different than other weekends it is probable the use of the public spaces is intensified.
Inadequate Policing
The Council have a close proximity of responsibility as in towns elsewhere in the UK they are paid for by the Local Authorities.
Here the problem might be the Police themselves becoming the target, so what do you do? You have to disperse the problem and close down excesses. Several layers of responsibility exist and need connected.

Responsible alcohol consumption is a recurrent theme of the reactionary Radio Programmes as are the feelings almost of helplessness when we hear of the loss of life on the Roads. This another seemingly helpless prospect.

On Northern Ireland’s Roads? City and Country?
Neither need be as the modification – albeit requiring severe measures.
Speed restrictions after dark can be implemented in rural as well as in City localities. Blackspots can have night only warning signs. Road conditions can be dealt with to their FULLEST road worthiness. There are numerous things to be done. A speed limit ‘A reducing by TEN’ scheme for night driving. Tardiness for Regional Development needs purged.

Those are but some. Speed and an amalgamation of factors not normally aligned could catch many out. Stray animals, deer, etc. All need to be thought through. The overtaking rules for night need revisted. Overtaking -double lights?

Far more easily can alcohol regulation and socialising normalities adhered to or adjusted for. The SDLP Councillor is one landlord among many whose idea of Student housing is that known as HMO’s which he has exploited to cram as many into houses once family homes and destroy as a consequence the balance of neighbourhoods.
Still it’s there. The saturation overcrowding is plain to all.
Houses of a Multiple Hypocrisy
Sponsored by MLAs and Councillors.
The fact is these HMO’s or Houses in Multiple Occupancy have as a pattern virtually no socialising space and a very small kitchen. The spaces are not there whether the students would like them or not.

They are in the two or three storey versions large enough for parties but the bigger ones have perilously more stairs and access with dangers of fire an obvious higher risk element.

They all have a miniature kitchen if not a full house share in the former let things principles, ie. not the sitting round a table even eating together scenario. No these are HMO’s where the exercise is cramming and pre-loading is a frequent flyer like a four by four.

That and the behaviours which the Councillor does not want ‘a safe place to visit’ reputation sullied becomes a farcical position for him to take given the Holylands St Patrick Days experiences year on year.
This years a near return to the bad old days.

One year the SDLP MP came out after a spate of people running up and down car bonnets to admonish students for their boorish behavior only to learn it was students cars being damaged. He sat on his hands while the Holylands got the run over with HMOs meanwhile.
The Universities Place
The Vice-Chancellors of Queens and Jordanstown may come and go, Lord Mayor this and Lady Major that come and go but the recycling of problems is continual. Demolish a festival why don’t you not build or focus on it.
MLAs are equally as useless as the Assembly has been in properly addressing neighbourhoods problems. Even the rubbish spills are not as the fancy brochures claiming reducing due to gating they are getting worse. Fact.
The University groups now assign Student Housing (private landlords now have at least 4 Social Housing sites as gimmes for Student without the safeguards of UK standards or any versitality and mix including within established neighbourhoods, with properly mandated standards)
Students Union Facilities (there is to be no Students Union in the New Uni. In Central Belfast) can you believe that. Not only is the a Education becoming Long – distance Learning, threatening the Education of youngsters with zero Hour jobs out of zero hours lectures? Here’s your course suck it up and don’t meet on the Union or you something of your fellow students may rub off. Societies now where are they to be held.
What spaces do they normally use?

Compelling Brazilian Bacon.

So what is it needs to happen?

Act like a proper City. Plan with respect and not according to whose paying for the Electoral Parties largesse.

You need to get the priorities right instead of soapbox politics seen for all its gestural loathsome articulation as mere hypocrisy.

Do something with effect.

John Graham

7 April 2015