Derry City Council has yet to give the go-ahead for the switch-on of the city’s Christmas lights to be moved to Ebrington Square, Derry Daily can reveal.
Speaking after Sinn Fein Cllr Elisha McCallion said the switch-on, which normally takes place in Guildhall Square on a midweek evening, would be moved to the Waterside and, for the first time, take place on a Friday, a spokesperson for Derry City Council said the move had yet to be ratified by “full council.”
The spokesperson said: “A draft proposal for a Festival of Trees event to further enhance the city’s Christmas offering was presented to members of Council’s Development Committee yesterday under confidential business. Elected members approved the proposal in principle ahead of the matter coming before Full Council for ratification at the end of the month.
Cllr McCallion said with crowds attending the annual event on the increase, it was anticipated – due to the City of Culture year -the this year’s crowd could be the biggest seen to date.
In a statement to a local news outlet, Cllr McCallion, chairperson of the Council’s Development Committee, said it was important all health and safety concerns were taken on board “and plan accordingly” for the switch-on.
She added: “We have seen with the recent Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann the sort of crowds that have turned out for outdoor events during 2013. Moving the event to a Friday night will hopefully allow more families to attend and bring in people from outside the city.”
Cllr McCallion said while the switch on of the Christmas lights would be moved to Ebrington it was “also important” to reassure people the “large” Christmas tree outside the Guildhall would “still be there this year.”