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Sobering idea: plans for booze-free St Patrick's Day

By Victoria O’Hara

Published 28/11/2012

A dry St Patrick's Day in New York
A dry St Patrick's Day in New York
The golfing success of Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy is celebrated in the St Patrick's Day parade through Belfast city centre 2012
The St Patrick's Day Parade moves off from Belfast City Hall 2012
The St Patrick's Day Parade moves off from Belfast City Hall
The St Patrick's Day Parade moves off from Belfast City Hall. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 17, 2012. The parade route takes revelers from City Hall to Custom House Square where there will be a free concert. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
The St Patrick's Day Parade moves off from Belfast City Hall
The St Patrick's Day Parade moves off from Belfast City Hall
St Patrick's Day celebrations and parade in Belfast city centre. Belfast's Lord Mayor Niall O Donnghaile takes part in the parade.
St Patrick's Day celebrations and parade in Belfast city centre
Crowds gather in the streets of Belfast to watch this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade
Huge crowds gather for the St Patrick's Day Parade on O'Connell Street, Dublin
Huge crowds gather for the St Patrick's Day Parade on O'Connell Street, Dublin
Huge crowds gather for the St Patrick's Day Parade on O'Connell Street, Dublin
Huge crowds gather for the St Patrick's Day Parade on O'Connell Street, Dublin
Huge crowds gather for the St Patrick's Day Parade on O'Connell Street, Dublin
Pacemaker Press Intl: 170312 Crowds gather in the Streets of Belfast to watch this years St. Patricks Day Parade. Thousands turned out to watch the colourful performers and floats. Photo: Kirth Ferris/Pacemaker Press
Crowds gather in the streets of Belfast to watch this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade
St. Patrick's Day, 2012 in Belfast
St Patrick's Day parade, Belfast, 2012
St Patrick's Day parade, Belfast, 2012
St Patrick's Day parade, Belfast, 2012
St Patrick's Day parade, Belfast, 2012
St Patrick's Day celebrations and parade in Belfast city centre
St Patrick's Day celebrations and parade in Belfast city centre
ALDERSHOT, ENGLAND - MARCH 17: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge poses for an official photograph she visits Aldershot Barracks on St Patrick's Day on March 17, 2012 in Aldershot, England. The Duchess presented shamrocks to the Irish Guards at a St Patrick's Day parade during her visit. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
ALDERSHOT, ENGLAND - MARCH 17: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge takes part in a St Patrick's Day parade as she visits Aldershot Barracks on St Patrick's Day on March 17, 2012 in Aldershot, England. The Duchess presented shamrocks to the Irish Guards at a St Patrick's Day parade during her visit. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
ALDERSHOT, ENGLAND - MARCH 17: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge poses for an official photograph she visits Aldershot Barracks on St Patrick's Day on March 17, 2012 in Aldershot, England. The Duchess presented shamrocks to the Irish Guards at a St Patrick's Day parade during her visit. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
ALDERSHOT, ENGLAND - MARCH 17: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge presents a 'shamrock' to the Regimental mascot as she takes part in a St Patrick's Day parade as she visits Aldershot Barracks on St Patrick's Day on March 17, 2012 in Aldershot, England. The Duchess presented shamrocks to the Irish Guards at a St Patrick's Day parade during her visit. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
ALDERSHOT, ENGLAND - MARCH 17: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge takes part in a St Patrick's Day parade as she visits Aldershot Barracks on St Patrick's Day on March 17, 2012 in Aldershot, England. The Duchess presented shamrocks to the Irish Guards at a St Patrick's Day parade during her visit. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The golfing success of Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy is celebrated in the St Patrick's Day parade through Belfast city centre
Sydney Opera House in Australia has gone green to celebrate St Patrick's Day
14 March 2011: One of Paris' most iconic attractions the Moulin Rouge is set to become the Moulin Vert, as it goes green to mark St Patrick's Day
The Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Shanghai has gone green, to join in this weekends St Patrick's celebrations
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 17: The Sky Tower illuminates green on March 17, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand. Sky Tower joins the Opera House in Sydney, and Table Mountain in South Africa in going green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
Anthony Gormley's Angel of the North in Gateshead is lit green on behalf of Tourism Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick's Day
How the Leaning Tower of Pisa will look when it is lit up green for St Patrick's Day
The City Hall in Vienna, Austria will also be bathed in green for St Patrick's Day
Battersea Power Station is lit green on behalf of Tourism Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick's Day today
A flock of Scottish sheep in West Lothian who have been died green to mark Saint Patrick's Day
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, centre, speaks with aids at the Hilton Hotel Friday, March 16, 2012, in downtown Chicago. Kenny is in Chicago leading a global St. Patrick's Day charm offensive to potential business investors and tourists
The Hötorgsskraporna (five skyscrapers) in Stockholm have gone green, to join in this weekend's St Patrick's celebrations around the world
The iconic Coit Tower and City Hall in San Francisco have gone green, to join in this weekend's St Patrick's celebrations around the world
The iconic Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai is one of the iconic buildings and attractions around the world which will go green this year to mark St Patrick's Day
The iconic London Eye is just one of the iconic buildings and attractions around the world which will go green this year to mark St Patrick's Day
Table Mountain in South Africa
San Francisco's City Hall
Brussels Town Hall, Belgium
What Niagra Falls will look like on St Patrick's Day
The iconic British department store Selfridges on London's Oxford Street has gone green, to join in this weekend's St Patrick's celebrations
The Empire State Building in New York will 'go green' on St Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
The giant dragon which descended on spectators during the annual St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. Inpresspics.com. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St. Patrick's Day Spring Carnival in Derry. 17.3.11
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
Stacey Solomon sings in Belfast City Centre.
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's Day in Belfast city centre 2011
Lemar sings in Belfast City Centre
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. The parade makes it's way through the city centre.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. A young piper in the PSNI Pipe band makes his way through the city centre with the parade.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. A piper in the PSNI Pipe band makes his way through the city centre with the parade.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. People involved in the parade make there way through the city centre.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. Left to right. Anna Gonzlez, Angela Mora, Rocio Cruz from Spain.
People line the streets of Belfast for the annual St Patrick's Day parade. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 17, 2011. Celebrations are taking place in towns and cities across Northern Ireland to mark St Patrick's Day. In Belfast a colourful march left City Hall led by pipe bands and featuring environment-themed floats. Thousands of people have lined the streets of the city centre for the annual procession. See PA story ULSTER Parade. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and makeing it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. Seven-year-old Lois Lynch from Belfast.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and makeing it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. Seven-year-old Corey Light from Belfast.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and makeing it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. Shane Friend(left) and his son Dan(right) from Belfast with Carman Acutina from the Philippines.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. The parade makes it's way through the city centre.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. The parade makes it's way through the city centre.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. The parade makes it's way through the city centre.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. The parade makes it's way through the city centre.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. The parade makes it's way through the city centre.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. The parade makes it's way through the city centre.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. People enjoy the parade as it makes it's way through the city centre.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and making it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. The parade makes it's way through the city centre.
St Patrick's day parade in Belfast City centre 2011
St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and makeing it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. Seven-year-old Lois Lynch from Belfast.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and makeing it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. Left to right. Clementine Billet, Isabelle Maldera and Delphine Marcodini from near Lyon in France.
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 17th March 2011. St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast City Centre with a parade leaving the City Hall and makeing it's way to Custom House Square for an open air concert. William Ford from south east England.
St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast. 2011.
St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast. 2011.
St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast. 2011.
St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast. 2011.
St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast. 2011.
St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast. 2011.
St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast. 2011.
St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast. 2011.
St Patrick's Day parade in Belfast. 2011.
Racegoers take part in an impromptue ceilidh during St Patrick's Day at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Racegoers take part in an impromptue ceilidh during St Patrick's Day at Cheltenham Racecourse. March 17, 2011. To launch picture gallery click image above
Racegoers take part in an impromptue ceilidh during St Patrick's Day at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 17, 2011. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: David Jones/PA Wire.
A racegoer studies the form during St Patrick's Day at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 17, 2011. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: David Jones/PA Wire.
Gloucestershire Police Inspectors Steve Templeton and Karen Ellis join in with the St. Patrick's Day spirit at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 17, 2011. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: David Jones/PA Wire.
The Chicago River is dyed green for St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago
St Patrick's Day
St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry
St Patrick's Day 2010: Armagh
St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry
St Patrick's Day celebrations take place in Belfast. Left to right. Alice McGirr, Aoibheann Shiels, Maeve Flanagan and Sinead McLaughlin pictured in Belfast City Centre. 2010
St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry
St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry
St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry
St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry
St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry
St Patrick's Day 2010: Derry
St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast
St Patrick's Day Armagh. 2010
St Patrick's Day Armagh. 2010
St Patrick's Day Armagh. 2010
St Patrick's Day, Armagh. 2010
St Patrick's Day 2010: London
St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast
St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast
St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast
St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast
St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast
St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast
St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast
St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick
St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick
St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick
St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick
St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick
St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast
St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast
St Patrick's Day 2010: Belfast
St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick
St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick
St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick
St Patrick's Day 2010: Downpatrick
St Patrick's Day 2010: London
St Patrick's Day 2010: London
St Patrick's Day 2010: London
St Patrick's Day 2010: London
St Patrick's Day 2010: London
St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham
St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham
St Patrick's Day 2010: Nottingham

Ambitious plans to transform St Patrick's Day celebrations into a three-day ‘sober’ celebration have sparked a row amongst councillors in Belfast.

Belfast City Council is set to inject a further £70,000 of ratepayers’ money to transform the one-day celebration into a three-day festival that incorporates a brand message of the initiative ‘Sober St Patrick’s Day’.

Ahead of the new programme — that would involve food fairs, film screenings and tours — council representatives met William Spencer Reilly, the man who spearheaded the Sober St Patrick's Day Celebration in New York.

The debut event held in March this year was a huge success.

During a meeting with city council representatives in October, Mr Reilly was told while Belfast already had a sober St Patrick’s Day, the brand message could be integrated during the celebrations — if agreed by the full council next month.

Pressure groups and organisations involved in addiction and recovery initiatives would also be invited to take part in the parade.

Separate to the council organised events, St Patrick’s Day has been marred in the Holylands area of south Belfast in the past with rioting and booze-fuelled street parties.

As well as the annual parade and concert, the expanded 2013 programme would include a range of new events targeting a family audience where alcohol will be banned. This includes:

  • A St Patrick’s market and food fair at St George’s Market.
  • St Patrick’s themed tours of the city and St Patrick’s historical tours of the city’s cemeteries.
  • St Patrick’s Day ceili and dance at the Ulster Hall.
  • Screening films with a Belfast, Ulster or Irish theme at the big screen in the City Hall grounds.

The proposals, backed by the development committee, will now be considered by the full council in December.

But while there is support to strengthen the message of a booze-free St Patrick’s Day, the cost of additional events has sparked opposition from unionist parties.

The cost of the annual parade and concert is £140,000.

If the new plans get the green light it would jump to £210,000 in 2013 and an estimated annual £250,000 after that.

The UUP’s Bob Stoker, however, said while he welcomed any move that would reduce the consumption of alcohol, he was “totally opposed” to the plans due to the cost.

But Sinn Fein’s Jim McVeigh, a member of the development committee, backed the move.

“We don’t have alcohol at our St Patrick’s Day events but this is about us taking it up a level and giving the no alcohol message a stronger theme,” he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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