Belfast Telegraph

Security concerns fail to deter shoppers and vendors at Belfast's Christmas market

By Kate Buck

Visitors to the Christmas market at Belfast City Hall yesterday said they still felt safe.

When we visited, the attraction was bustling with people celebrating the start of the festive season.

Despite the security risks highlighted in the report, some stall-holders said that they have seen less security and police than in previous years, but they don't feel they were in any danger.

Despite signs saying random bag searches will be taking place, of the three entrances only one had checks on bags as people entered the market.

Some precautionary measures have been put in place to protect visitors and planters which are designed to stop a vehicle attack have been placed outside the entrance.

These bollards were placed after a security review and are designed to stop a repeat of the Berlin Christmas market attack last December where 12 people were killed and another 48 injured by a man driving a lorry at the market at 40mph.

Christmas market workers and visitors all seemed to agree that despite City Hall being named as vulnerable to attack, they didn't feel unsafe and thought that the threat shouldn't stop them from doing anything.

Workers at Belfast Christmas market said that on the whole, they felt safe at work.

Lee Wild, a vendor at the market selling confectionery, said he didn't think anyone was in danger because he thought the security staff were "very good".

Pat Malpass, a vendor now in her 12th year of selling cakes at the market, said: "I've never had a problem with anything here and I've never felt unsafe here."

Allen Campbell
Allen Campbell
Sabrina Donnelly
Tanner Whiteside
Cat Malpass
Lee Wild

Tanner Whiteside said: "I've been as a customer and as vendor this year and it feels safe and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.

"During the week when I was a customer everyone seemed to be very happy and looked like they were enjoying themselves and I don't think that this is the kind of place where you do feel a threat."

However, Sabrina Donnelly, who works at one of the food stands, said she had noticed a drop in the security presence compared to last year.

She said, "I think we're all ok but there's a bit less security this year and less police, but security guards have all been cut so we're not seeing them as much now."

Ellen Hatch, a visitor from London said: "I'm not bothered. I just think if something's going to happen, then something's going to happen and I shouldn't be worried and it shouldn't stop me from doing anything."

Another visitor, Allen Campbell, said: "I don't feel on edge. I actually work for the same security company so I understand just how prepared they are so I feel very safe at the Christmas market."

Belfast Telegraph

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