COVID lockdown: St Patrick's Day revellers moved on by police at Belfast park party

·1-min read

St Patrick's Day revellers in a Belfast park had to be moved on by police after their celebrations breached COVID gathering rules.

Officers were forced to close down Botanic Gardens in the south of the city after hundreds of young people had gathered on Wednesday.

Prior to the police intervention, there had been a party atmosphere with groups drinking, listening to music and playing ball games.

There are currently tight restrictions on public gatherings in Northern Ireland under COVID-19 regulations.

PSNI assistant chief constable Alan Todd said officers took "operational action" after his previous warning that those caught breaking the rules against group gatherings could face stiff fines went unheeded.

And he warned that people who had been fined before risked even tougher penalties.

The traditional St Patrick's Day celebrations, including a large parade in Belfast city centre, had been cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

Mr Todd said while a number of people had been turned away from various beauty spots, the majority had heeded the public health messages.