Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

New Year celebrated in style everywhere... except Northern Ireland

Fireworks explode over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
Fireworks explode over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
Fireworks explode over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
Buddhists attend New Year's Eve celebrations at the Bongeun Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor during New Year's Eve to celebrate the start of 2014 in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor during New Year's celebrations in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor during New Year's Eve to celebrate the start of 2014 in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Fireworks explode over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
People gather at the Zojoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo to celebrate the New Year, early Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Pope Francis checks time after visiting the nativity scene set in St. Peter's square following a New Year's Eve vespers service he celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. Pope Francis has used his traditional year-end prayer service of thanksgiving to urge people to ask themselves: Did they spend 2013 to further their own interests or to help others? That's what we all should "courageously" consider as New Year's celebrations get under way, the pontiff said, as he led the service in St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday evening. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Fireworks light up the sky as Filipinos welcome the New Year Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014, in Manila, Philippines. Traditionally, Filipinos welcome the New Year with fireworks and firecrackers and making the loudest noise possible, including indiscriminate firing of their guns which sometimes result in injuries and deaths. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Laser lights shoot from towers during a New Year's Eve count down to 2014 held at the Great Wall of China in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Fireworks explode over Juche Tower and the Taedong River in Pyongyang, North Korea to celebrate the New Year on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Thousands of people gather in the main business district to watch a fireworks display on New Year's Eve in Jakarta, Indonesia, late Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
Fireworks explode over the financial district at midnight, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 in Singapore. Celebrations started on New Year's Eve where concerts were held and thousands gathered on the streets to usher in the Year 2014. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Fireworks over the church of St Thomas the martyr at the New Year's eve Winter Carnival in Newcastle city centre. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 31, 2013. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Performers at the New Year's eve Winter Carnival in Newcastle city centre. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 31, 2013. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Fireworks over the church of St Thomas the martyr at the New Year's eve Winter Carnival in Newcastle city centre. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 31, 2013. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Spark drummers performing at the New Year's eve Winter Carnival in Newcastle city centre. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 31, 2013. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Performers at the New Year's eve Winter Carnival in Newcastle city centre. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 31, 2013. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
A firefighter moves a poster as a fire engine returns to Euston Fire Station at the beginning of a six hour strike, Central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 31, 2013. FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "Firefighters on duty over the festive period don't have much to celebrate this year and this strike will remind the Government of the service we provide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, every year of our careers. See PA story INDUSTRY Strike. Photo credit should read: Laura Lean/PA Wire
BEIJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 31: Chinese folk artists dressed in costume drama wait to take part in a New Year's Eve count down to 2014 at the Badaling Great Wall on December 31, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 31: Chinese folk artists dressed in costume drama wait to take part in a New Year's Eve count down to 2014 at the Badaling Great Wall on December 31, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 31: Chinese folk artists dressed in costume drama perform during the New Year's Eve count down to 2014 at the Badaling Great Wall on December 31, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 31: Chinese folk artists dressed in costume drama perform during the New Year's Eve count down to 2014 at the Badaling Great Wall on December 31, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 31: Chinese people celebrate the New Year during the New Year's Eve count down to 2014 held at the Badaling Great Wall on December 31, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
BINTAN ISLAND, INDONESIA - DECEMBER 31: Indonesian military release lanterns into the sky for the 2014 New Year on December 31, 2013 in Bintan Island, Indonesia. A total of 2014 sky lanterns were flown by the Indonesian military. (Photo by Yuli Seperi/Getty Images)
BINTAN ISLAND, INDONESIA - DECEMBER 31: Indonesian military release lanterns into the sky for the 2014 New Year on December 31, 2013 in Bintan Island, Indonesia. A total of 2014 sky lanterns were flown by the Indonesian military. (Photo by Yuli Seperi/Getty Images)
BINTAN ISLAND, INDONESIA - DECEMBER 31: Indonesian military release lanterns into the sky for the 2014 New Year on December 31, 2013 in Bintan Island, Indonesia. A total of 2014 sky lanterns were flown by the Indonesian military. (Photo by Yuli Seperi/Getty Images)
SURABAYA, INDONESIA - DECEMBER 31: Indonesian Cosplay Community perform on the street to celebrate 2014 New Years on December 31, 2013 in Surabaya, Indonesia. A wave of pyrotechnic displays kicked off New Years celebrations in major cities around the world. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)
SURABAYA, INDONESIA - DECEMBER 31: Indonesian Reptile Community showcase their pets to celebrate 2014 New Years on December 31, 2013 in Surabaya, Indonesia. A wave of pyrotechnic displays kicked off New Years celebrations in major cities around the world. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)
SURABAYA, INDONESIA - DECEMBER 31: Indonesian people set up fireworks to celebrate 2014 New Years on December 31, 2013 in Surabaya, Indonesia. A wave of pyrotechnic displays kicked off New Year celebrations in major cities around the world. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode near the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: Fireworks over Melbourne skyline and Yarra River during New Years Eve fireworks on December 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: Crowds watch the sun go down for one last time this year before New Years Eve fireworks on December 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: 9.30PM fireworks over The Melbourne Cricket Ground and Yarra River during New Years Eve fireworks on December 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: Fireworks over Melbourne skyline and Yarra River during New Years Eve fireworks on December 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: Fireworks over Melbourne skyline and Yarra River during New Years Eve fireworks on December 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: New Years revelers watching the fireworks on the Princes Bridge during New Years Eve fireworks on December 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: Huge crowds gather on Princes Bridge during New Years Eve fireworks on December 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: New Years revelers watching the fireworks on the Princes Bridge during New Years Eve fireworks on December 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: New Years revelers watching the fireworks on the Princes Bridge during New Years Eve fireworks on December 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the sky from The Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight during New Years Eve celebrations on Sydney Harbour on 01 January, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the sky from The Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight during New Years Eve celebrations on Sydney Harbour on 01 January, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the sky from The Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight during New Years Eve celebrations on Sydney Harbour on 01 January, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the sky from The Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight during New Years Eve celebrations on Sydney Harbour on 01 January, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the sky from The Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight during New Years Eve celebrations on Sydney Harbour on 01 January, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the sky from The Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight during New Years Eve celebrations on Sydney Harbour on 01 January, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the sky from The Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight during New Years Eve celebrations on Sydney Harbour on 01 January, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the sky from The Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight during New Years Eve celebrations on Sydney Harbour on 01 January, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: New Year's Eve revelers party in Federation Square during New Years Eve on December 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: New Year's Eve revelers party in Federation Square during New Years Eve on December 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 01: Fireworks are let off from the Auckland Sky Tower to celebrate the new year on January 1, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 01: Fireworks are let off from the Auckland Sky Tower to celebrate the new year on January 1, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 01: Fireworks are let off from the Auckland Sky Tower to celebrate the new year on January 1, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 01: Fireworks are let off from the Auckland Sky Tower to celebrate the new year on January 1, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

As cities around the world saw the New Year in with a big bang, Northern Ireland celebrations went off with something of a whimper.

And the lack of civic celebrations to mark New Year’s Eve is to be raised at Stormont.

While revellers flooded into cities all over the world to mark the occasion, there were no firework displays or free public concerts here.

Neither Belfast nor Londonderry hosted a free public event to see in 2014.

SDLP Assembly Member Patsy McGlone said he would raise the matter with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to see what support could be given to councils for next year.

The only public sign that Belfast was welcoming the New Year was a 15-minute countdown light show illuminating the City Hall’s dome. Derry City Council hosted an afternoon thanksgiving ceremony at St Eugene’s Cathedral, which reflected the city’s successful year as City of Culture.

There were no advertised free public festivities organised by councils in Coleraine, Fermanagh, Cookstown, Craigavon, Ballymena or Downpatrick either.

As chair of the Assembly’s committee on enterprise, trade and investment, Mr McGlone said he was surprised at the lack of civic celebrations.

He added: “While I acknowledge that it’s expensive to pay employees to work at this time of year and these matters are down to individual councils and their ratepayers, I would have thought that both Belfast or Derry as our capital cities could have put something on for the public to celebrate this major annual event.”

The last time that Belfast City Council hosted a free public event for New Year’s Eve was 2008.

It was criticised for being too expensive and failed to be fully supported by the public.

 Last night a council spokeswoman said: “A combination of the current economic climate and lack of public demand led to the council decision — back in 2009 — not to host a civic event.”

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