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St Patrick’s Day Funding Could Be Used For Autumn Festival

Writes Ciaran Dineen

With St Patrick’s Day celebrations once again unable to go ahead this coming March, suggestions have been made that allocated funding could instead be used, Covid-permitting, to host an Autumn Festival or Christmas events in towns like Carrigaline, Passage West and Crosshaven.

In January’s meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD), Councillors were provided with a list of project expenditure allocations through their TDF (Town Discretionary Fund) budget for 2021.

Provisionally the Council had proposed €5,000, €3,500 and €1,000 for Carrigaline, Crosshaven and Passage West respectively to be used for St Patrick’s Day celebrations. However, with parades across the country now not going ahead, other suggestions are now being made to decide on what the funding could instead be used for.

MD officers are now looking to open a dialogue with local community groups and organisations to discuss different options for potential events that could happen later in the year if public guidelines allow for it. One idea put forward was an autumn Halloween Festival, while Councillor Liam O’Connor (FG) added that funding could also be moved into providing some Christmas events.

Christmas Lights 2021

Councillors and officials alike have agreed that the Council need to plan early this year for Christmas lights’ preparations in 2021. Given the circumstances this year with the pandemic, the lighting of our towns and villages was put in great jeopardy.

Fortunately, Cork County Council stepped in and effectively ‘saved Christmas’, and the A Real Cork Christmas campaign proved to be a major success for towns like Carrigaline, Passage West and Ballygarvan last year.

For the coming festive season it is likely that the Council would like to shift the responsibility back onto communities to organise their own lighting and events but they have indicated a strong desire to work with the relevant community organisations who usually take on these tasks.

Councillor Seámus McGrath (FF) stated at last month’s MD that he would like to see a partnership form between Council and community for the Christmas festivities, avoiding a total reversal which places all the duty on local groups and organisations.

Councillor Marcia D’Alton (Ind) agreed wholeheartedly with Cllr McGrath and stressed that a strong and “active involvement” in the process would give a real boost to towns and villages in the area. “I know we don’t have the same formal structure as yet in Passage West as the Business Association does in Carrigaline but we would have been lost without the Council stepping in this year. Some communities will have that structure, others won’t but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the community at large should be at a disadvantage because that inherent structure isn’t there and so that partnership approach, with a lead taken by the Council would be, in my opinion, the right way to go”, Cllr D’Alton added.

Meanwhile Councillor Audrey Buckley (FF) stated that she would like the Council to allocate more funding to other towns like Crosshaven, who raise their own money for Christmas decorations and lights through voluntary groups, believing that this was slightly unfair given the supports afforded to Carrigaline and Passage West.

It is believed that a plan will be put in place well in advance of next winter to discuss preparations and proposals, allowing community groups to get actively involved.

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