Friday 31 October 2014

Lord mayor slams ‘tacky’ St Patrick’s Day festival

Published 18/02/2014 | 12:07

Dublins Lord Mayor  Oisin Quinn
Dublins Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn

DUBLIN’S Lord Mayor has claimed that the “tacky” St Patrick’s festival in the city will encourage people to get drunk and “throw on leprechaun hats”.

Labour councillor Oisin Quinn has launched a scathing attack on the organisers of the parade who he said appear to be staging events in a bid to generate money.

The mayor has hit out at the decision to install a “funderland” type event in Merrion Square over a four day period next month.

Mr Quinn said his criticism has nothing to do with the fact that his father, Lochlann Quinn, part owns the Merrion Hotel.

“My father does part own that hotel but that doesn’t come into play,” he told the Herald.

“This is about ensuring we showcase Dublin to the rest of the world.

“But all we are effectively doing is bringing a mini version of Funerland to Merrion Square and that for me is a missed opportunity,” he added.

Mr Quinn said he believed organisers have been “quite resistant” towards efforts to make the event more culturally-focussed.

He said he fears that that the funfair in Merrion Square will attract people who want to drink alcohol and “throw on leprechaun hats”.

“This is what will happen when you offer something that is low grade.

“It totally is tacky to put a funfair in the square. It encourages people to drink and throw on leprechaun hats and that is something we must avoid.”

Reacting to the criticism today, Festival CEO Susan Kirby said that a raft of cultural events are being planned.

“I would urge people to familiarise themselves with the programme. We have events in the National Concert Hall, the National Museum and the National Library.”

Ms Kirby said the funfair mightn’t be to everyone’s tastes but that it has proven popular in the past with young people.

She said she believed Mr Quinn has shown a “lack of understanding” of the programme.

“The Lord mayor is entitled to his opinion as is everybody, which is essentially owned by us all, not just Dubliners but the entire population of Ireland as a national festival,” she told RTE’s ‘Morning Ireland’.

“I won’t deny I’m surprised that the words soulless lacking ambition etc are attached to the parade or any of our events by someone in that office. But all I can attach it to is a lack of understanding of the programme,” she said.

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