Mayor urges carnival goers to stay safe this Hallowe’en

Photo: Margaret McLaughlin
Photo: Margaret McLaughlin

As Hallowe’en fast approaches carnival goers are being urged to heed safety warnings to ensure a safe and enjoyable celebration on the biggest night of the year in Derry and Strabane.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Alderman Hilary McClintock, is advising people to pay attention to sensible advice issued by Council’s Environmental Health Service to help safeguard against any potential hazards.

“This year sees the 30th anniversary of our Hallowe’en Carnival and we are expecting tens of thousands to arrive for what has become the district’s signature event,” she explained.

“This is a family friendly celebration so we want to ensure that it will be enjoyed by people of all ages, by heeding the advice regarding issues such as alcohol consumption and fire safety, and please also check the Council’s website for the latest information regarding carnival care.

“I would particularly ask those planning to attend the main events in Derry and Strabane to follow the direction of stewards and the PSNI, especially due to the numbers in attendance.

“When planning celebrations at home please consider the risks that may be posed if using items such as fireworks and candles. I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very safe and happy Hallowe’en and I look forward to seeing you all at the Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival.”

Alderman Hilary McClintock. (Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography)

Alderman Hilary McClintock. (Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography)

Head of Health and Community Well-being with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Seamus Donaghy, explained that Council’s Environmental Health team want to raise awareness to ensure a safe celebration for everyone.

“We are extremely keen to make people aware of some of the hazards which can be more prevalent on Hallowe’en night,” he stressed. “With so many people out to enjoy themselves, excess alcohol consumption can mar the celebrations. We want to stress that this is a family event with music and entertainment for everyone so police will be monitoring and seizing alcohol from anyone under the age of 18 and dealing with any street drinking. Parents are also urged to check where their children are going and to remind them of the dangers associated with alcohol and substance misuse.

“In the run up to Hallowe’en our Environmental Health Officers will be visiting bars and off-licences to discuss health and safety management and reinforce key messages regarding alcohol. We also check local suppliers to ensure they are not stocking illegal fireworks, and we would urge people to only purchase fireworks from licensed retailers.

“Officers will also be providing advice to retailers and monitoring the sale of Hallowe’en costumes. It is also important that anyone purchasing a costume does so from a reputable supplier and ensures that they read any labelling and instructions regarding its safe use. This is particularly important for parents to consider. For example, it’s essential to avoid fire hazards which can pose very serious risks to anyone wearing a costume. By taking small and sensible precautions we can all ensure that Hallowe’en is fun and safe for everyone.”

This year’s Hallowe’en celebrations will take place across Derry and Strabane from October 28-31, with a packed programme of events for all ages taking place at venues across the district.

The traditional Carnival Parade will wind its way along Queen’s Quay from 7pm – 8pm on Monday October 31, followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the River Foyle at 8pm. Events in Strabane will take place throughout the day, with some fantastic fireworks at 7pm. Music and entertainment will continue in Guildhall Square in Derry until 10pm and in Strabane until 8.30pm.

Safety will be a key priority throughout events and a number of agencies will be working in partnership to plan and manage the Hallowe’en festivities, as Policing and Community Safety Partnership Manager Dermot Harrigan explained. “A range of local statutory agencies and community partners will be involved on the ground on Hallowe’en night. Stewards and PSNI officers will be on duty to assist the public during events, working alongside Council’s Community Safety Wardens who will be on duty throughout wider community areas, and local volunteers through Youth First and Cornerstone Street Pastors.

“An alcohol free zone will be operating in both Derry and Strabane to keep disruption to a minimum and to ensure this is a safe and enjoyable celebration for families. And leading up to Monday night’s Hallowe’en event the carnival care message will be reinforced to young people through a number of school engagements led by the YES Project and HURT. We hope that everyone will cooperate with all those tasked with delivering another successful festival event for the district.”

Anyone planning to use fireworks is advised to follow the Firework Safety Code. For more information view www.saferfireworks.com

For more information on Council’s Carnival Care initiatives please check the website www.derrystrabane.com/Subsites/Care/Carnival-Care-Initiatives

And to find out more about the full Hallowe’en programme check out www.derrystrabane.com/halloween