Henry McDonald offers his thoughts on events in the Holyland and some solutions Culchie clashingDuring the week a number of short-term solutions to the Holy Lands crisis were proffered, such as the expulsion or suspension of the rowdiest and most violent from university. Others have suggested that the PSNI take a more heavy-handed approach to the nightly scenes of drunkenness, lewd behaviour and disorder. They point out, quite correctly, that if these people were working-class youths they would battered off the streets and demonised throughout society as a gang of worthless Chav scumbags, yet because the students are from nice, respectable middle-class homes in the country they are treated with kid gloves.
The only long-term solution to the blight in the Holy Lands is a cultural one – to discourage parochialism. At the heart of it lies the need to break up the pack mentality, to persuade students from rural Northern Ireland, especially nationalist areas, to think of other options of study beyond the North entirely.
Conversely, the two universities might consider putting a cap on the number of indigenous students they take in and vigorously canvass for more students from Britain, the Republic and further afield.