St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day holiday - Wednesday 17 March 2021
As you will be aware, St Patrick Day parades across Northern Ireland have been cancelled in order to limit public gatherings and social contacts. The arrangements at Ulster University for St Patrick’s Day 2020 are for a University closure on Bank Holiday Wednesday, 17 March 2021.
Ahead of this public holiday, we remind you that our primary concern is the health and safety of our students, staff and wider community. We also want to remind you of the importance of taking care to balance your enjoyment of the holiday with your safety and the safety of others around you. This is especially important this year given the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Public Health Guidelines and Covid-19 Regulations
We have always maintained that our hope and expectation is that every Ulster University student follows public health guidelines and abides by the stay-at-home order, legally imposed by the NI Executive, to stop the spread of COVID-19 at all times.
We understand that against the backdrop of continued lockdown, it is entirely natural that we all may sometimes feel weary or discouraged and are missing socialising with friends. However, to protect everyone’s health and wellbeing, including your own, and to ensure you do not take unnecessary risks with your future studies, education and career aspirations, it is important that we all understand how essential it is to follow the current regulations.
The Dangers of Breaching Covid-19 Regulations
In the context of St Patrick’s Day holiday, we want to ensure that you are aware of the risks associated with breaching COVID-19 regulations, including the possibility of a fine, formal charges and a permanent criminal record that will have to be declared on job applications - all issued by the PSNI.
Along with partners from Queen’s University and its Students’ Union, Belfast Met, the PSNI and Belfast City Council we strongly recommend that students:
- Follow all public health and NI Executive guidance: stay home, stay safe and save lives and avoid all unnecessary travel, only travelling if absolutely necessary for your studies.
- Behave responsibly: do not gather in large numbers in properties, either internally or especially in small front garden areas.
- Avoid public intoxication and another other social behaviour which would require medical or policing attention, since health and police personnel have other priorities at this time in the context of public health
- Consider the risks of engaging in antisocial behaviour to your safety, the safety and wellbeing of others and your future career.
We remain concerned about any anti-social behaviour, some of which is linked to a minority of the student population; particularly in the Holylands area of South Belfast. Reports made to the University of antisocial behaviour over the St Patrick’s Day period; and indeed, any other time of the year; by the PSNI and local council will need to be fully investigated.
It is the University’s policy that where any student can be proven to have brought the University into disrepute through antisocial behaviour, will be referred for disciplinary action, which may mean an immediate precautionary suspension while the matter is investigated.
We are aware of increasing numbers of non-students who travel to the Holylands area each year. As a group we have also reached out to Principals of post-primary schools to urge their pupils not to travel to the Holylands area, for their own safety and wellbeing as well as in the interests of protecting local residents who may feel anxious as the St Patrick’s Day holiday approaches. Please do not encourage friends or family members to visit you at your term time address for the bank holiday to support us with this.
We urge you to take note and keep in a convenient location contact numbers of a range of services that can provide support and emergency assistance should you or anyone you come across require urgent assistance or support.
Additionally, we have compiled FAQs with a series of links to official and general guidance on the Coronavirus, which can be accessed on our Coronavirus web resource.
Over this year we have achieved so much as a University community and while the roll out of the vaccine brings hope, we cannot let our guard down and so we encourage you to continue to look out for each other and those around you this St Patrick’s Day.