I posted this in the comments section. I think it's worth publishing as an article in it's own right.
For many years now there has been an argument about percentages. In a different life I was a student representative (the worst decision I ever made)and bought into the notion that it's a small minority causing mayhem, no more than ten percent. Way back then there was talk of introducing restorative justice in the Holylands. At the time, and we're talking eight years ago, this made intuitive sense. Involve the students in the community; make them feel accountable and responsible for their actions. I was such a deluded fool. Residents were selling up en masse. I remember attending the inaugural meeting of the original residents' group. The top room in city church was packed. There must have been 200 people there. That group folded and now we have the fake resident's group, sponsored by the University of Ulster and currently headed by their former community relations officer. The illegitimacy of this entity can be measured by attendance at it's meetings; always in single figures, many of them non-residents;- Anne Monaghan, Gerard Morgan, Denise from city church. About half of the committee are non-residents. The community is almost completely extinguished. There are less than a hundred residents left.
Over eight years my position has changed. If half of Queens undergraduates don't go to class, one can assume that half of them are bogus students, only up here to party. Because of its reputation, it's safe to say that a disproportionately high percentage of "students" in the Holyland are bogus. That means that the vast majority are party animals abusing education, and a small, but significant minority are genuine. This is the universities unofficial campus, and the academic progress of genuine students must suffer. My own experience is a rather extreme example, but must reflect to some degree the debilitation suffered by all who try to study here. A neighbour of mine is furious and outraged at the effect on her daughter's A-levels. Naturally the Universities' representatives have been suitably unhelpful in addressing her grievances. Anne Monaghan set a disgusting precedent when she represented the University of Ulster. Her footsteps are clear and easy for her successors to follow.
The wheel has, grotesquely, come full circle. Restorative Justice is again on the agenda. It has the support of Jim Young, our new Police inspector and Dermot Curran, chair of the dominant local housing association. I would love to know what planet these people are living on. They are either pious fools or sinister operators. Dermot Curran insists that people have no right to oppose this, after all "It's an attempt to resolve the situation". He doesn't live here and his attempts to compare this place to apparently successful efforts in Poleglass are absurd. Community Restorative Justice requires the existence of a stable community. Such a point is so obvious that only the deluded could fail to see it. There are 100 residents and 6000 "students". If you complain you make yourself a target. The police refuse to protect us, the universities use a variety of initiatives as "perception management", and the "students" make it clear that this is their area and we are not wanted. We should not be expected to make ourselves targets. The only thing that has had any effect is direct action. I will not endorse car burning, but it has made a lot of people and their parents think twice. If the truth be told, only large scale direct action could have saved this community, and the time for that was at least twelve years ago. Now a handful of us are left because we don't own our homes. Individuals may get moved out, but someone else is imprisoned in the same house. This must end. Get us out of here. Stop imprisoning people in this environment.