With associated costs of £3,280 for security and £3,870 for staffing, the Council’s 2014 St Patrick’s Day event “is beginning to look like the G8 Summit”, Cllr Beth Adger has said.
Her comments came at an update on the March 17 event to a Council Committee by Economic & Community Development Manager, Sean Trainor.
Held annually, the event is planned around three venues Slemish (for a mountain climb), ecos (for parking and entertainment) and Buckna (car parking) with a paid-for bus shuttle service run between the three sites.
This year ecos will feature traditional music and children’s activities from 12-4pm, a Ballymena video show and provision of hot food in the cafe while mobile hot food/confectionery units will be sited at Slemish car park and in Buckna, refreshments will be served by Buckna Presbyterian Church.
Referring to a summary of the costs involved in its staging, which total £12,800, Cllr Adger queried staffing amounting to £3,870 and, in particular, £3,280 for security on coaches, at car parks and ecos.
Mr Trainor replied that a number of “unsavoury incidents” had occurred a number of years previously “on the buses and at the buses” including one where an underage drinker tried to board one of the vehicles.
“Given the high profile of this event, this is money well spent,” said Mr Trainor who pointed out that the security on the buses amounted to “low profile individuals” and was aimed at ‘stopping any potential problems before they happen’.
Taking the cost of security and staff together, Cllr Adger told the meeting: “It’s beginning to look like the G8 Summit.
“I think its a great event but they are only going up Slemish,” she said.
Mr Trainor added that there had been no increase in the number of staff for 2014 and there was, in fact, a slight decrease in security.