herald

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Safety fears switch off Christmas lights ceremony

Thousands usually attend the event on Grafton Street
Thousands usually attend the event on Grafton Street

Dublin City Council (DCC) has been criticised following the cancellation of its annual Christmas lights ceremonies to officially kick off the festive period.

The council agreed for health and safety reasons not to host its hugely popular switch-on.

Instead, DCC is trying something new and will light up 12 iconic sights in the city for 30 days, in an initiative called Winter Lights Dublin City.

Joerg Steegmueller, owner of the Dublin Event Guide, hit out at the decision.

"Because Dublin is too small for the amount of people that wanted to attend the Grafton Street event in previous years, and because Dublin city chickened out from finding any alternative solution, there will be no central switch-on events this year in Grafton Street or in O'Connell Street," he said.

"We already had to learn over the years that Dublin is incapable of organising a Christmas market, but not even being able to run one single central event to launch the Christmas period is quite disappointing."

Complaints

A DCC spokesperson told the Herald it did not want to inconvenience people by asking the Luas Cross City line to stop operating to accommodate the ceremony on O'Connell Street.

He also said complaints received about last year's Christmas lights event being unsafe and finishing early promoted the council to create Winter Lights Dublin City.

Graeme McQueen, of Dublin Chamber of Commerce, said since organisers weren't able to guarantee people's safety it made sense to do something different.

"The idea of lighting up a number of key buildings around the city is exciting and will provide a nice trail for families to see over Christmas," he said.

"We're still expecting big numbers to soak up the Dublin Christmas experience this year.

"Safety has to come first and we welcome Dublin City Council's decision to think outside the box and come up with something new and enchanting."

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