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2,000 sign petition for Belfast New Year's Eve party in Shaftesbury Square

By Sophie Inge

A petition calling for a Times Square-style New Year's Eve celebration in the centre of Belfast has attracted more than 2,000 signatures - just hours after it was launched. 

Started by Cool FM presenters Paulo Ross and Pete Snodden, the petition is calling for a "party under the big screen at Shaftesbury Square" with musical performances and a firework display.

Paulo, who announced the petition on the breakfast show yesterday morning, said: "I think the last time Belfast celebrated New Year was the Millennium or shortly after.

"We do Halloween so well. We do Christmas so well. And New Year's seems to be the only time that we don't do anything - or haven't done for a long time. London do it. Sydney do it. New York do it. So why not Belfast?

"We just thought it's been a brilliant year for Northern Ireland sporting-wise and so much has happened. And New Year's Eve is all about looking back at the achievements made that year. So why not all look back together, party and bring in the New Year?"

The Cool FM presenters are still undecided about which bands should be invited to play - but they've had a few ideas.

"We're interviewing Robbie Williams for the show, so we were thinking of asking him," said Paulo. 

"Obviously, Robbie Williams playing in Shaftesbury Square is a bit far-fetched, but we'll put the question to him!"

Just four hours after the petition was launched at 8.30am, more than 1,500 people had signed online at Change.org.

Commenting on the Change.org petition, Lynne Alexander from Cullybackey wrote: "It's a fantastic idea and would bring people together! The rest of the world do it - why not us?"

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