Mayor of Derry & Strabane Graham Warke said every effort was being made to ensure this year’s event recreates the magic of Hallowe’en, but in a safe and accessible format.
Speaking as the large scale props were being put in place across the city and in Strabane town as well as Buncrana’s Swan Park yesterday, Mayor Warke said: “The celebrations will feature illuminations, animation and installations across key locations stretching around and beyond the City’s historic Walls, taking in the wider City and District guaranteed to enthral and mesmerise spectators along the trail. The various locations offer the opportunity to experience the magic at your leisure, taking in the sights and sounds over a number of visits if preferred, ensuring everyone can enjoy Halloween in a safely distanced manner.”
The Mayor urged all Hallowe’en revellers urging them to stay safe, look out for one another and if out and about in the pubs and clubs to drink responsibly. “It has been a challenging period for all of us and while we won’t have the Halloween carnival parade this year and the majority of our activities are outdoors we are encouraging people to please stay safe. This is primarily a family friendly event and we want to make sure it’s an enjoyable one for all attending. With large numbers of people expected to come out to view the animations over the three nights I am encouraging everyone to take heed of the advice issued about traffic and travel, to follow all signage and to co-operate fully with the PSNI and stewards who will be there to ensure your safety. Parents please be aware of where your children are – and that’s big children as well as little ones! Arrange meeting points and ensure teenagers have transport home if out with friends, and that mobile phones are charged. If consuming alcohol it is vital that you do so responsibly and be aware of the risks of over indulgence. If you’re planning on dressing up please heed the warnings about costumes, check the labelling and only buy products which meet the relevant safety requirements.”
Superintendent Catherine Magee said: “With many visitors expected to the city this weekend we will be working closely with Council to ensure everyone can enjoy the celebrations safely and our Neighbourhood and Local Policing Team officers will be on patrol to provide reassurance to local residents and businesses.”
Dr Paul Baylis, Consultant in Emergency Care and Medicine with the Western Trust said: “Hallowe’en is traditionally an extremely busy time of the year for all the emergency services, particularly for Western Trust staff working at Altnagelvin Area Hospital. This year with the particular pressures and challenges faced by health care workers across the Western Trust area we are urging the public to stay safe this Halloween so as to avoiding having to attend our Emergency Departments.
“If people are using fireworks as part of the Halloween festivities I would hope that they can enjoy them safely. Although fireworks can be entertaining and exciting, particularly for the younger members of our community, they can be extremely dangerous and can cause serious injury if not handled properly. It is important to remind people of how dangerous sparklers can be and that they are extremely hot for some time after the sparkler has gone out and can cause serious burns.”
Parents should note that there are alcohol free zones throughout the city centre and Strabane town. Stewards and PSNI officers will be on duty to provide information and assistance over the weekend with police monitoring and seizing alcohol from anyone under the age of 18.
Council’s Licensing and Health and Safety teams will be liaising with businesses and licensed premises reminding them of their responsibilities while Council’s Community Safety Wardens will also be working throughout the wider area providing advice and assistance to anyone that they perceive to be in need.
This will include directing people who need to get home or to accommodation or advise on local transportation provision.
Community organisations will be on the ground over the weekend providing support and helping to ensure alcohol misuse is minimised.