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Deputy Sandra McLellan critical of Minister’s dismissal of Hallowe’en proposals

22 October, 2014

Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on the Arts Sandra McLellan, TD, has expressed disappointment at Minister Heather Humphries dismissal of her proposals that the government might make Hallowe’en a safer and more enjoyable event by learning from the way the Celts celebrated the Festival  of Samhain.

Ms McLellan said:

“During today’s Ministerial Questions I put forward a number of proposals to the Minister; that her Department should look at how our ancestors celebrated the Feast of Samhain in order to build on the many excellent festivals and family oriented events that are held at Hallowe’en.

"In my own constituency in Youghal we have the Youghaloween Spooktacular, an event that combines a range of activities that bring enjoyment to an entire community and provide an economic boost for the town.

“By learning from our Celtic ancestors we can improve existing festivals further and ensure Hallowe’en is a date in our calendar that is a time of celebration for everyone.

“It is sadly the case that in many areas across this State, Hallowe’en is used as an excuse for thuggish elements to participate in anti-social behaviour, with old and vulnerable people being placed at particular risk.

“During my debate with Minister Humphries, I cited the example of bonfire beacons that have proved very popular in towns and villages in County Down, where they are a safer, more eco-friendly alternative to traditional bonfires.

“Her dismissal of my suggestion that we learn from our past and her reluctance to consider some of the initiatives that have proven successful in the North, on the grounds that they would “dilute” the existing culture night, misses the point.

“If Minister Humphries is serious about ensuring a safe and enjoyable Hallowe’en then her and her Department have a responsibility to ensure events constantly evolve and one way of achieving this is to learn from how the Feast of Samhain was celebrated in the past.”

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