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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Call to scrap Halloween festival
Halloween masks
There have been concerns raised about the city's Halloween festival
A doctor and a priest from Londonderry have called for the city's annual Halloween festival to be scrapped.

Father Michael Canny and Dr Anne Doherty, a GP, have said they are concerned about the levels of underage drinking at the event.

They have written to the city's SDLP Lord Mayor, Helen Quigley, to request a meeting with the event's organisers.

Ms Quigley said Fr Canny and Dr Doherty's concerns would be taken on board by the council.

"The Halloween Carnival is the largest Halloween celebrations in Ireland and we need to ensure its core value of a family festival is retained," she said.

"We have already adopted many initiatives to ensure the carnival is enjoyed sensibly and safely by informing parents, communities and vintners of the risks of underage drinking at this celebratory time, providing alcohol-free zones for families and a student zone."

'Underage drinking'

Dr Doherty said unless alcohol consumption could be totally controlled then the carnival should be banned.

"Underage drinking is not only confined to Derry, it is in every city in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and in England, but for a city council to take onboard a carnival where alcohol plays a large part is a big responsibility," she said.

Father Canny said the problem of underage drinking at the event had to be addressed.

"I would say that 15,000 people might come to the city and I am not going to deny that, but if 1,000 or 2,000 people under the age of 18 are drunk... then that is the flip side," he said.

It is estimated that up to 20,000 people attend the city council run festival every year.

The highlight of the night is a huge fireworks display on the River Foyle.




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