Belfast Telegraph

The world parties in style to see in 2018 ... with the exception of Northern Ireland

By Cate McCurry and Stewart Robson

It's one of the biggest nights in the party calendar with millions taking to the streets of cities across the world.

But while many revellers will see in 2018 in style, here in Northern Ireland the new year will arrive with a whimper rather than a bang.

That's because no public celebrations are planned.

While some will flock to pubs and restaurants, those hoping to welcome the New Year on a grander scale will have to travel elsewhere.

It has led some to criticise our lack of celebrations.

Cool FM radio presenter Pete Snodden has urged a rethink in future years.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I really think there should be a big celebration.

"It happens everywhere else in the world. I know we can't do everything but you look at the news and see New York, Edinburgh, London and Dubai.

"I appreciate that they're huge cities but as a capital I think we should have something, maybe not on the same sort of scale but something of some significance."

For almost 10 years no civic events have been held to mark the beginning of a New Year as Belfast and Derry City councils ruled out hosting official celebrations.

Nothing has been organised in Belfast since 2008, when a free public concert was held at the City Hall, however, council officials pulled the event citing the high financial costs.

Last year a petition was launched calling for Belfast to ring in the New Year with a party in the city's Shaftesbury Square, gaining the backing of more than 2,500 people.

A Belfast City Council spokesman said that the decision was made in 2009 not to stage any more civic events to mark the New Year.

"The decision was made due to a combination of the current economic climate and a lack of public demand for such an event," the spokesman said.

"The council has no plans at this stage to re-instate a civic celebration of New Year's Eve. As in more recent years, the City Hall once again will be illuminated with a 'light countdown' to ring in the New Year."

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed that it has no plans to host a celebration. She said: "The council hosted a series of hugely successful events for families in the run up to Christmas including the Winterland Market featuring Bjorn the Bear, the Wonder Windows Trail, the Mayor's Lost in Frost initiative and the Sound of Light Christmas Procession in the run up to and over the festive period."

It is in stark contrast to elsewhere in the UK.

Revellers in London will flock to watch the traditional New Year's Eve firework display over Westminster, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.

One of the most famous New Year's Eve celebrations will take place in Edinburgh with the Hogmanay fesitivites.

Other major cities including Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff will host celebrations.

Celebrity chef Paula McIntyre said Belfast should "definitely" have something. She added: "Other cities have iconic celebrations. We have a burgeoning tourism industry and it needs catered for. New Year is a great time for people coming together."

Radio presenter Stuart Robinson said: "It's been so long since we've had something on in Belfast at New Year that people have practically forgotten we ever had anything at all."

Belfast Telegraph

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