Belfast Telegraph

Proposal to revive civic New Year’s Eve celebration in Belfast

Belfast City Council has not thrown an official celebration since 2008 due to high costs and a drop in attendance numbers.

A Belfast City Council spokesman confirmed that the city had not hosted a New Year’s Eve celebration since 2008 (Jonathan Brady/PA)
A Belfast City Council spokesman confirmed that the city had not hosted a New Year’s Eve celebration since 2008 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

By Rebecca Black, PA

An effort is under way to revive Belfast’s official New Year’s Eve celebrations.

The city has not hosted a civic celebration to mark the coming of the new year for over a decade.

DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst, who has proposed the event be reintroduced, said Belfast is one of the few capital cities that does not officially mark New Year’s Eve.

The proposal has been welcomed by the hospitality sector.

Every year, capitals around the UK, Europe and beyond hold their own firework displays yet in Belfast we have nothing Councillor Dale Pankhurst

He told the PA news agency that he decided to press for the event to be brought back after watching large numbers enjoying the Halloween Monster Mash event.

“I thought ‘why don’t we do a similar event for New Years Eve?’,” he said.

“Every year, capitals around the UK, Europe and beyond hold their own firework displays yet in Belfast we have nothing. It’s time that changed.

“Such an event will help put Belfast on the map for both its citizens and visitors alike.

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Fireworks light up the sky in Edinburgh during the Hogmanay New Year celebrations (PA Archive)

“The aim is develop an event for young and old and everyone in between. The closest we get to New Year celebrations is a night at Shaftesbury Square. It’s time we changed that and widened our vision.”

Mr Pankhurst submitted his proposal to a full meeting of Belfast City Council on Monday evening.

It is set to be referred for discussion to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee before a decision is made.

Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill welcomed the move.

“Any events or initiatives that could potentially bring more people and out of state visitors into the city centre and increase the footfall for the local hospitality sector is a good thing,” he said.

“Christmas is usually a busy time of the year for the industry, but the early months in the new year can often be a difficult time for our pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels so any ideas to get people out and spending is to be welcomed.”

A Belfast City Council spokesman confirmed that the city had not hosted a New Year’s Eve celebration since 2008.

“In January 2009, elected members decided not to continue with the annual New Year’s Eve outdoor event. This was due to a number of factors including the high cost of staging outdoor events, the economic climate at the time and a fall in public demand for such events,” he said.

PA

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