The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Hilary McClintock, is encouraging everyone to have fun this St. Patrick's Day but also to be mindful of their own and others' safety.
The Mayor has asked everyone attending the St. Patrick’s Spring Carnival events, which will take place March 17-19 to be safe.
She said: I have no doubt that the St. Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival will be a great weekend of family fun, music, culture, dance, food and folklore.
“We have a beautiful city and district and a great reputation for welcoming visitors and making their stay enjoyable.
"Our St Patrick Day’s celebrations traditionally attracts families and visitors from near and far, all keen to join us for the weekend festivities.
"To ensure we keep our reputation and you keep yourself and others safe, please be aware of your own actions and that of others, as it is important that people of all ages thoroughly enjoy the celebrations.
“To be certain this happens I would ask the public to adhere to the advice issued by Council regarding issues such as; personal safety, alcohol consumption, overcrowding and fire safety.
"You can find information carnival care, what’s on and useful contact numbers at Council’s website,www.derrystrabane.com.
“Stewards and PSNI officers will be visible on the carnival parade days and I’d ask everyone to follow any direction they may issue to keep yourself and others safe.
"This year we celebrate the carnival to the theme of 'Forever Young' – a celebration of youthfulness of mind and spirit.
"Let us all celebrate our youth, young and old and have a safe, enjoyable weekend together. I wish you all a very safe, fun and happy weekend!”
Seamus Donaghy, Head of Health and Community Well-being at Derry City and Strabane District Council said Council’s Environmental Health team have produced the carnival care advice plan to ensure everyone enjoys the carnival safely and are aware of what to do should any situations arise.
“We fully expect the events to proceed without any issues but it is important that the public be aware of potential hazards and be generally savvy of what to do and not do while attending public events and festivals.
"With it being a bank holiday and there being lots of people on the streets, excess alcohol consumption, substance abuse, noise, anti-social behaviour and personal safety, can become an issue.
“We stress that this is a family event with music and entertainment for everyone. Police will be monitoring and seizing alcohol from anyone under the age of 18 and dealing with any issues on street drinking and antisocial behaviour.
"We would also ask parents and guardians to be aware of where their children are going and to remind them of the dangers associated with alcohol and substance misuse.
"Environmental Health Officers liaise with bars and off-licences throughout the year to advise on them on health and safety management and reinforce key messages regarding alcohol, especially around the times of big events. Council’s Licensing Officers may also visit licensed premises to ensure they are abiding by the terms and conditions of their licence.
"Safety is our main priority and we will be working in partnership with a number of agencies to plan and manage the carnival.”
Policing and Community Safety Partnership Manager, Dermot Harrigan added: “A number of local statutory agencies and community partners will be involved and stewards and PSNI officers will be on duty throughout St. Patrick’s Day to assist the public during events, working alongside Council’s Community Safety Wardens and local volunteers from Cornerstone Street Pastors and the Christian Fellowship.
"An alcohol free zone will be operating in both Derry and Strabane to keep disruption to a minimum and to ensure this is a safe and enjoyable celebration for families.
"The carnival care message we as Council are delivering will be reinforced to young people through a number of school engagements led by the YES Project. We hope that everyone will cooperate with all those tasked with delivering another successful carnival event for the district.”
The St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will run concurrently with the LegenDerry Food Festival and a host of arts and multi-cultural events including The Ubuntu Global Festival, Urban Villages and Communities United Spring Festivals.
St. Patrick’s Day Carnival Parades will take place on Friday, March 17 in the city centre and in Strabane. The event is delivered by Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with North West Carnival Initiative, Greater Shantallow Community Arts, In Your Space and BAP.
Over 500 people from community based carnival programmes will take part in the parade which can be viewed in the city centre from 2.00pm as it departs from Queens Quay (Council Car Park).
This year’s city centre parade follows a new route from the Council car park, to Strand Road, past the City Hotel roundabout and along the Foyle Embankment to Water St (Sandinos).
The parade will then turn and continue back along the same route, before finishing at Queen’s Quay, Council car park.
The Strabane parade will begin at St Mary’s Church on Melmount Road at 2.00pm. It will then continue on to the Melmount Road, Bridge Street and across the bridge to Market Street through Abercorn Square and Railway Street before finishing in the Scor Site at Dock Street.
There will be entertainment throughout the afternoon in both Waterloo Place in the city centre and Strabane’s Alley Theatre, including live music and children’s arts.