News

Stern warning issued to St Patrick’s Day revellers

Thursday, 16 March 2017

THE PSNI along with Derry City and Strabane District Council officials have issued a stern warning to revellers ahead of the St Patrick's Day festivities taking place in Strabane over the weekend.

The town is expected to welcome a large number of people and festivities will 'kick off' with a 5K run followed by a carnival on Friday and PSNI officers and officials from Derry City and Strabane District Council are urging party-goers to act responsibly.

PSNI officers will be on patrol and a strict alcohol free zone will be operating. Police will be monitoring and seizing alcohol from anyone under the age of 18 and will be dealing with any issues of street drinking and anti-social behaviour. Council officials and PSNI officers have asked for the co-operation of parents and guardians in ensuring their children's safety.

They have asked that parents and guardians be aware of where their children are celebrating and to remind them of the dangers associated with alcohol and substance misuse.

In terms of licensed premises, the council's licensing officers have said that they may make visits to such places to ensure that they are abiding by the conditions of their licence.

The PSNI also have a strong message for Strabane students who may be travelling to the Holylands area of Belfast on St Patrick's Day, which over the years has become associated with drunken and disorderly behaviour. While the PSNI are welcoming local students to celebrate in Belfast, they are urging them to do so away from residential streets in the Holylands area.

Elsewhere, the local council's environmental health team have produced the carnival care advice plan to ensure that everyone enjoys the carnival safely and are aware of what to do should any situations arise.

Seamus Donaghy, head of health and community well-being said: "We fully expect the events to proceed without any issues but it is important that the public be aware of potential hazards and be generally savvy of what to do and not do while attending public events and festivals.

"With it being a bank holiday and there being lots of people on the streets, excess alcohol consumption, substance abuse, noise, anti-social behaviour and personal safety, can become an issue.

 "We stress that this is a family event with music and entertainment for everyone. Police will be monitoring and seizing alcohol from anyone under the age of 18 and dealing with any issues of street drinking and antisocial behaviour. We would also ask parents and guardians to be aware of where their children are going and to remind them of the dangers associated with alcohol and substance misuse.

"Environmental health officers liaise with bars and off-licences throughout the year to advise them on health and safety management and reinforce key messages regarding alcohol, especially around the times of big events. Council's Licensing Officers may also visit licensed premises to ensure they are abiding by the terms and conditions of their licence. Safety is our main priority and we will be working in partnership with a number of agencies to plan and manage the carnival."

Policing and Community Safety Partnership manager, Dermot Harrigan added: "A number of local statutory agencies and community partners will be involved and stewards and PSNI officers will be on duty throughout St. Patrick's Day to assist the public during events, working alongside Council's community safety wardens and local volunteers from Cornerstone Street Pastors and the Christian Fellowship.

  "An alcohol free zone will be operating in Strabane to keep disruption to a minimum and to ensure this is a safe and enjoyable celebration for families. The carnival care message we as Council are delivering will be reinforced to young people through a number of school engagements led by the YES Project. We hope that everyone will co-operate with all those tasked with delivering another successful carnival event for the district."

Also urging the public to act responsibly this weekend, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, said: "I have no doubt that the St Patrick's Day Spring Carnival will be a great weekend of family fun, music, culture, dance, food and folklore.

 "We have a beautiful district and a great reputation for welcoming visitors and making their stay enjoyable. Our St Patrick Day's celebrations traditionally attracts families and visitors from near and far, all keen to join us for the weekend festivities. To ensure we keep our reputation and you keep yourself and others safe, please be aware of your own actions and that of others, as it is important that people of all ages thoroughly enjoy the celebrations.

 "To be certain this happens I would ask the public to adhere to the advice issued by Council regarding issues such as; personal safety, alcohol consumption, overcrowding and fire safety.  

“Stewarts and PSNI officers will be visible on the carnival parade days and I'd ask everyone to follow any direction they may issue to keep yourself and others safe.

"This year we celebrate the carnival to the theme of 'Forever Young' - a celebration of youthfulness of mind and spirit. Let us all celebrate our youth, young and old and have a safe, enjoyable weekend together. I wish you all a very safe, fun and happy weekend."

You can find more information on carnival care, what's on and useful contact numbers on the council's website: www.derrystrabane.com.

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