O’Toole: Hargey needs to follow words with action on Holyland disruption

claire hanna matthew o'toole holyland anti-social behaviour

SDLP MLA Matthew O’Toole has called on the Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey to update local residents and stakeholders on her plans to tackle anti-social behaviour in the Holyland.

Minister Hargey announced the establishment of a Strategic Partnership Group, bringing together relevant stakeholders on Holyland issues, on 16 March but as yet the group has not announced any specific actions or plans to deal with the longstanding issues bringing misery to residents.

Mr O’Toole has submitted a priority Assembly question to get answers on what action is – or isn’t – being taken by the group.

The South Belfast MLA said:

“The challenges around anti-social behaviour in the Holyland are both longstanding and complex, involving multiple stakeholders from universities and landlords to the city council. It was welcome that Minister Hargey established the Strategic Partnership Group on the eve of St Patrick’s Day – but that was six months ago and as yet the group has not announced any agreed actions or plans to tackle the problems residents face on a constant basis.

“Residents are entitled to know what is actually happening with this group, which was announced with fanfare before St Patrick’s Day. As the new university term starts and Holyland residents gear up for further disruption, they deserve clarity from the minister on what action is being taken.”

SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna said:

“The disruption residents in the Holyland and lower Ormeau experience is chronic but solvable, yet it is somehow being allowed to continue year after year. The SDLP has been clear that an Executive level taskforce is needed to reimagine and regenerate what should be a thriving, attractive neighbourhood. We welcome that group being established after our lobbying, but it needs to start producing a serious and transformative plan.”

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