Irish Republican News · April 16, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Belfast City Council against Sunday Halloween

Unionists on Belfast City Council hves voted not to celebrate Hallowe'en night this year because it falls on a Sunday, angering pagans and nationalists alike.

Up to 40,000 people are expected in nationalist-controlled Derry city for Halloween night celebrations this year.

However, firework celebrations will not take place in Belfast this year because it falls on a Sunday. who say Belfast will be the only city in the world not to celebrate on Halloween night.

Hardline unionist Ruth Patterson of the DUP defended the decision.

``I don't think the ratepayers would be pleased if this event was allowed to go ahead. It would have excluded those Protestants and Roman Catholics who aren't comfortable attending such events on a Sunday.

``Northern Ireland is a place with principles and standards and if this event had been allowed to take place on the Sabbath it would have been a grave mistake.''

Mrs Patterson dismissed nationalist claims that unionists were trying to re-introduce a previous council policy which led to the closure of leisure centres, public parks and other entertainment venues on Sundays.

``I think if we went back to good old-fashioned morals we wouldn't be going far wrong,'' she said.

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Maskey accused unionists of dragging the city back into the ``dark ages''.

``I think Belfast will look ridiculous if we are the only city in the world not celebrating one of the biggest family events of the year simply because it falls on a Sunday,'' he said.

SDLP councillor Margaret Walsh warned that the decision would make Belfast a ``laughing stock''.

``We have events like Titanic Week and others on a Sunday so I don't see why Halloween should be any different,'' she said.

The final decision on Halloween night celebrations will be made involving the full council at the start of next month.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News