Free event for young people in Falls Park ‘helped reduce bonfire tensions’

One of the fire displays at last year's Feile finale (Gavan Connolly GC Photographics)
One of the fire displays at last year's Feile finale (Gavan Connolly GC Photographics)

A free event for young people in west Belfast has been credited with diverting people away from anti-internment bonfires.

Trouble flared on Monday night at several sites but last night proved relatively quiet, coinciding with a concert that had been organised by Feile an Phobail.

Organisers say over 3000 young people attended the free event which had a line-up of top international and local DJs.

They explained that tickets had been allocated through local youth and community groups.

Feile organisers said the Bring The Noise event was organised and advertised a month before the trouble, but was part of Feile’s commitment to occupy and diffuse tensions with young people over this time of year.

Kevin Gamble, Director of Féile an Phobail said: “On Tuesday night, Féile an Phobail, with support from Belfast City Council, attracted thousands of young people from across the city to the Falls Park, for a music concert headlined by one of the top DJs in the world.

“It was great to see so many of our young people enjoying themselves in a safe, controlled and professionally managed event.

“One of the main aims of this event was to reduce the tension and the attendance at ‘unwanted’ bonfires that have become a hotspot of anti-social activity over the last couple of years.”

He continued: “This initiative has proven to have been a great success. The event has saved the city many thousands of pounds in clean-up operations, which have followed bonfires in recent years and enhanced the city’s reputation.

“The leadership and positivity shown by Féile and community organisations across the city has resulted in communities enjoying themselves throughout this year’s Féile.

“We have clearly demonstrated that statutory agencies, local community organisations and political representatives working together can deliver positive, safe, memorable and enjoyable events for all.

“We are looking forward to another five days of Féile events across the city, with three more headline concerts in the Falls Park, a packed programme of debates and discussions and community events.”