Warrenpoint Halloween festivities a huge success

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info@newrytimes.com
Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
Community
On Saturday night the Safer Warrenpoint Project staged its eighth annual Halloween festival. halloween15Sinn Fein councillor Mickey Ruane, who has chaired the Project group since its inception, shared his thoughts on why the festival was first conceived and what it has achieved to date. “Nine years ago we set out on a journey to try and transform how Halloween was celebrated in Warrenpoint and across the Crotleive area in general. “Many people told us we were wasting our time. It was accepted by too many that vandalism, damage to both Public and private property and anti-social activity were only to be expected over Halloween. “The bonfire on Ringmcilroy cost thousands of pounds to clean up each year and was an eyesore to local residents for months. It had always been that way and it wouldn’t change,” he explained. “Over the nine years since we started our project some £300,000 has been spent developing Ringmcilroy into a valuable amenity, enjoyed by children and adults all year round. “In 2007 it was the scene of a riot as the police response consisted of numerous armoured Landrovers and riot police with batons drawn. Contrast that scene with 2015 where the police presence was barely noticeable. “At the start we worked with our younger citizens, educating them and persuading them that Halloween should be a holiday that is enjoyed by everyone in our community, young and older. We talked of creating a family atmosphere where all were welcome. Ruane continued, “We convinced them to buy into what we were doing and their response has been to fully involve themselves in our organised activities and stay away from bonfires. We would like to thank them. “To get where we are today we have had to overcome plenty of difficulties. In recent years we have witnessed a considerable reduction in funding made available to us, making it harder to maintain the range of events that we can put on. The festival requires a lot of hard work and planning. “From the application for funding to Co-ordinating with emergency services and the providers of the various entertainments. We’ve still managed to keep it going though. “If anything the 2015 festival proves what can be achieved with hard work and a vision of something better. We have achieved what we set out to accomplish. The town centre was full of happy smiling families, evidence that they have rightly reclaimed the town Square on Halloween night,” he added. Councillor Ruane went on to acknowledge the assistance that the Project has received from Warrenpoint Harbour Authority for facilitating the fireworks display the Hair O’The Dawg band and Stagetruck hire for the music and their continued support over the past eight years.

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