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UK parties for New Year but it'll be quiet in Belfast


London: How other UK cities marked the arrival of 2016

London: How other UK cities marked the arrival of 2016

Edinburgh: How other UK cities marked the arrival of 2016

Edinburgh: How other UK cities marked the arrival of 2016

Getty Images

London: How other UK cities marked the arrival of 2016

It's an end-of-year tradition in cities around the world.

Across the UK millions of revellers will hit the streets tomorrow to party in style as 2017 dawns - but here in Northern Ireland it's a very different story.

Yet again there are no official public celebrations in our main towns and cities.

Pubs, clubs and restaurants are expecting a bumper evening, especially with New Year's Eve falling on a Saturday.

But there are no large-scale civic events, public concerts or firework displays to mark the start of 2017.

With Belfast having been transformed into a major city-break destination in recent years, many are unimpressed that we are failing to properly celebrate one of the biggest nights of the year.

Nothing has been organised in Belfast since 2008, when a free public concert was held at the City Hall to herald the New Year.

Earlier this year, the lack of civic celebrations led to Cool FM presenters Pete Snodden and Paulo Ross launching a petition for a proper New Year's bash. More than 2,000 signed it to back their calls.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, Mr Snodden said it is "sad" that nothing takes place in Belfast to celebrate the New Year.

"At the end of the day it's all about money, and who is going to pay for it?" he said.

"It would be fantastic to have a huge party in the city centre, either City Hall or Shaftesbury Square with the big screens in the background. Have a big countdown with everyone, just like they do in New York."

He urged a rethink for future New Year celebrations.

"Maybe at some point in the coming years the council will announce plans for a New Year's Eve celebration. Something has to give.

"For what our country has to offer, personally I think it's a shame we don't have anything for New Year," he added

A Belfast City Council spokeswoman said the decision was taken 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," she 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."

No public celebrations are planned in Londonderry either.

A spokesman for Derry City and Strabane District Council said they have "no major plans" to mark the start of 2017.

While Northern Ireland will have a quiet end to 2016, in other cities it will be a very different story.

London will come alive to the spectacular sight of fireworks over Westminster, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.

And Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, certainly knows how to welcome in the New Year.

Thousands of people flock to the city to bring in the New Year with music, fireworks and a whole host of arts, events and entertainment.

Countdown will be one second longer

Counting down to 2017 will take longer than usual this New Year's Eve as clock experts compensate for a slowdown in the Earth's rotation. To be precise, it will last an extra second. In a move guaranteed to make revellers' heads spin, time lords at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) are to introduce a "leap second" after 23:59:59 on December 31. As a result, clocks striking 00:00:00 will actually be recording a time of 23:59:60, delaying midnight by a second.

40m of us won't be going out at all

Around 40m adults across the UK are expected to welcome 2017 by having a "big night in". Some 78% of people surveyed for Post Office Home Insurance are planning to spend New Year's Eve at their home or at the property of a friend or family member, equating to 40 million people across the country. Some will be heading off to a house party, hosting one themselves, or spending a cosy night in with their partner.

3,000 police officers to patrol London

Terrorist lorry attacks on crowds in Nice and Berlin this year forced UK police to "adjust" plans for protecting New Year's revellers, a senior officer said. Armed police will join around 3,000 officers on the streets of London tomorrow as hundreds of thousands of people flock to watch the Mayor's firework display. Concerns about the threat of a mass-casualty terror plot targeting the spectacle have been heightened after extremists struck at events in Europe.

Belfast Telegraph