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Dungannon less than impressed as fog cuts short underwelming display

By Annamay McNally

Published 01/11/2016

Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew
Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew

Disappointed ratepayers have labelled a council fireworks display in Dungannon as a damp squib.

Officials blamed heavy fog for obscuring the view of the event on the Hill of The O'Neill on Friday night, which was eventually cut short.

But angry members of the public took to social media to air their views.

Some voiced concerns about the potential for overcrowding, with large numbers of families with children in prams, as well as issues for people with mobility problems trying to access the historic hillside viewpoint.

One woman said: "Everyone trudging up the hill with young toddlers in tow, pushing prams, and adults not as mobile as they once were, found it a difficult climb."

Local MLA Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Fein stated: "It was a disappointing night for everyone who worked to make a success of it.

"The weather was against us, but there was an amazing crowd at it.

"Malachi Cush and Phil Djchill Cheung worked hard to entertain us all, in spite of the inclement conditions."

A spokeswoman for Mid-Ulster District Council said the cost of the fireworks for the event was £5,500.

She said because the display was cut short, not all of the fireworks were used and the remainder will be used at the council's Christmas event on November 26.

In a statement, the council explained poor weather and limited visibility had resulted in Friday night's event being brought to a premature end.

"Unfortunately, the event organisers were forced to make the decision at the Halloween display in Dungannon to stop the launch of the fireworks as soon as it became apparent that visibility was poor due to heavy fog and inclement weather," the council spokesperson added.

"This was disappointing for everyone involved and we are sorry that conditions beyond our control resulted in the cutting short of the display which was the finale to an otherwise successful evening on the hill, which had a great reception from those in attendance.

"The decision has been taken to launch the remaining fireworks at the Christmas festivities at the end of November.

"We are mindful of the feedback received from those who attended and will use this in future events."

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