Organisers of a School Formal after-party, which had to be cancelled at the last-minute following an alleged complaint, have said they’ve been indundated with messages of both support and disappointment from parents.
The Devlin family, who live in the area known as ‘The Maras,’ near Burnfoot, were due to hold the party in a shed close to their house following the Crana College Formal last Friday night.
This would have been the fourth year the family helped run the event as it was held at the shed three years previously, excluding last year.
However, they said they had “no choice” but to cancel the party - which is not connected to, or organised by, the Buncrana secondary school - after being contacted by Gardai the night before, who informed them a complaint had been lodged.
Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ yesterday, the family said everything had been put in place for the party to go ahead.
IN REGION OF 300 STUDENTS AT PREVIOUS PARTIES
Previous parties have been attended by around 300 young people, including the students and their friends.
The organisers had confirmed putting security fencing in place at E240, bouncers - who would provide supervision alongside the family - a D.J., portaloos and even a chip van to provide food on the night.
Buses had also been organised to transport students to and from the venue at 12-12.30 am and 4.30 am to ensure they “got home safe.”
The family said the cancellation of the party, which had an entry fee of E10 per person to cover the cost of overheads, was a “huge disappointment for all concerned.”
They added they do not blame Gardai for the cancellation as they realise they were forced to act on the alleged complaint.
However, the family disputed concerns over health and safety issues, stating the party had always been well organised and there had never been any trouble on the three other occasions it had taken place. They also added that no alcohol was to be sold at the event.
Rose Devlin, who owns the shed, said they felt they had “no choice” but to cancel the event as there were concerns they would be prosecuted if the party went ahead this year.
She added, however, that they were “not prepared” for the telephone calls and text messages they received from the students’ parents, who told them they were upset for their children, who had been looking forward to it.
The family said these parents supported the party as they knew it was “well-run, supervised and safe for all concerned.”
Ms. Devlin added the cancellation of the party was the “end of an era,” in that such events would most likely now not take place for future students.
She stressed that they “completely understand” the Gardai’s stance and that they had to act on the complaint.
She said it is a “sad sign of the times we live in that that the fun factor is being taken out of things for out young people.”
NO RESPONSE FROM GARDAI LAST NIGHT
The ‘Journal’ contacted Gardai yesterday in relation to the nature and the number of the complaints lodged, but we had not received a response at the time of going to Press lsat night.