Assemblyman Rogers Says Festival Of Flight was Organised Impeccably
AS Newcastle reflects over one of the biggest tourism events in Northern Ireland this year, South Down SDLP MLA Seán Rogers has praised the Officers and Councillors involved from Down District Council on a highly successful event.
Mr Rogers said, “The event was organised impeccably from the launch on Saturday morning in the grounds of the majestic Slieve Donard to the 90 second count down with the Red Arrows sweeping by on the shout of one.
“The town was packed with locals and visitors alike from early on Saturday morning with traders setting up stalls outside their shop fronts.
“There was an amazing buzz around the whole town and I am delighted that some local businesses have reported increased sales from last year – this is what the festival is all about – building upon the good work and success of the previous year. So I wish to congratulate all involved in a truly enjoyable day.
“I have, however, received complaints in respect of the traffic wardens. I do appreciate that there is a delicate balance between keeping the free flow of traffic and accommodating visitors. Back in May I had approached the Minister for Regional Development by way of an Assembly Question calling for additional park and ride facilities during the summer months – this request was denied due to cost prohibitions. I will continue to press DRD in respect of additional parking provision – especially during events such as the Festival of Flight.”
Councillor Carmel O’Boyle Congratulates All On Great Festival
Speaking after the Festival of Flight, Newcastle area SDLP Councillor Carmel O’Boyle said: “I have just seen aerial photographs of the crowds attending the Festival of Flight in Newcastle, and it struck me that the figure of 130,000 visitors was an underestimate of the numbers who came to our town.
“Our fourth Festival of Flight has proved to be another triumph for Down District Council and for our Newcastle Chamber of Commerce. And none of it would have been possible without our main sponsor B/E Aerospace.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of our Council staff who were working throughout the whole day to make this event the huge success that it was, and our cleansing staff are to be particularly commended for the work that they did.
“I want to thank all of the emergency services, the PSNI and the Fire and Rescue Service; St John’s Ambulance staff and the Coastguard for their presence and for the part they played in our wonderful event. Thank you to all of our Newcastle business people and their staff for looking after our thousands of visitors in such a friendly and capable way.
“Every year is a learning experience and while there were a number of issues related to parking, these will be addressed and ironed out in time for next year. Saturday was a great success, and while there will be complaints, because I have heard some of them already, we will see how these can be avoided next year.
“In the meantime, I have arranged a meeting in Newcastle on Thursday to be attended by members of Newcastle Chamber and other businesses, as well as Council officers, to plan for our Hallowtides Festival in October.
“If we are to promote our Newcastle businesses and protect the jobs of people in our town, then we have to keep moving forward together. I know that the running of such an ambitious event as the Festival of Flight will have inconvenienced some people, but I believe that it is for the greater good that we do what we do for Newcastle.”
Newcastle Chamber Plays Key Role
Newcastle business woman, Audrey Byrne of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, said: “This event was a huge success and proves what can be done when we all work together. The theme this year was ‘Cabin Crews’ and many shopkeepers and staff dressed up in support which added to the overall atmosphere on the day.
“Chamber members did make a financial contribution to the Festival of Flight and we now have an executive group set up to bring key developments and events forward in the future.
“It is vital for the business future of Newcastle that we continue to strive forward with such quality events which all help to maintain the economic fabric of the town. We will be planning ahead and hoping that one day Newcastle will become Northern Ireland’s premier tourism destination.
“We need bigger and better tourism products and the festival of Flight was exactly the sort of event we are capable of producing. With RPA and Council mergers fast approaching, we do need to be looking at the future and there has never been a greater ned than now to get the Chamber moving to secure the future of Newcastle.
“I would like to pay a special tribute to Down District Council and Event Organiser Ann Moreland who managed once again to produce a fantastic day in Newcastle.”