Sparks fly over display switch from Portrush to Portstewart

Portrush Town Hall. The display is being moved from Portrush to Portstewart
Portrush Town Hall. The display is being moved from Portrush to Portstewart

The relocation of a fireworks display from Portrush to Portstewart is set to be discussed at a meeting of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council on Tuesday night.

A council member is to table a notice of motion, asking why a fireworks display pencilled in as the climax for Portrush’s annual air show in September has been transferred to Portstewart four miles away.

Ulster Unionist councillor Norman Hillis, who represents both towns, explained that during the last week in July Portstewart held its Red Sails Festival, which concluded with a pyrotechnics display.

“By the same token,” he said, “the Portrush fireworks display has been part of the air show – but it appears that officers have decided to move the fireworks to Portstewart.

“Tens of thousands flock to Portrush each year in early September for the air display.

“If patrons decide to head for Portstewart for the fireworks, it will cause traffic chaos along the coast road.

“Many will simply head for home to avoid the traffic jams, with parking at a premium at both venues.

“This nonsense didn’t happen for the Red Sails Festival where the fireworks display was included.

“This would mean Portstewart having two major fireworks displays and Portush having none where there used to be three.

“I believe the fireworks transfer decision was taken by council officers, and I knew nothing about it until I received my council papers.”

In his notice of motion, he also states that the traditional band concerts held in Portrush over the years have been discontinued.

The Portrush Air Show is planned to include the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, incorporating historic planes like the Hurricane and Spitfire.

Also tonight, a pressure group called Portrush Matters is meeting in the town hall to discuss the fireworks and other issues in the town.

A spokesperson for the council said: “We do not discuss issues raised by the councillors.”