Do St Patrick’s Day celebrations belong in St Julian’s or somewhere else?
The St Julian’s area woke up as clean as a whistle after a night of entertainment for St Patrick’s Day. Workers from the Cleansing Directorate collected 15 tonnes of waste in five hours. By the time the sun rose on Monday morning, Spinola Bay and the roads around St Julian’s and Paceville were spotlessly clean following the hours of celebrations on Sunday which included a lot of beer, music and the colour green, but very little of St Patrick, even if the celebrations are supposed to be in his name.
By the end of the celebrations at 4am, rubbish collectors were already hard at work to clear the tonnes of waste which were spread everywhere after the overflowing rubbish bins could not take any more.
John Mercieca from the Cleansing and Maintenance Division said that workers from the Foundation for Tourist Zones also lent a helping hand in this cleaning operation.
“We had more work than previous years because the celebrations seem to have been more widespread – where in the past the party was concentrated more in the Spinola area, which we know as Tigullio, this time it went further because we found much more rubbish than last year, especially in Paceville and the surrounding area.
Despite the enormous crowds, no serious incidents were reported and it appears that the traffic and people management plans worked smoothly thanks to the logistics put in place by the Tourism Authority. However, the St Julian’s mayor, Guido Dalli, said that for residents this activity is creating various inconveniences.
“We had the usual complaints: toilets – the revellers are being irresponsible and are answering the call of nature behind people’s front doors, and the loud volume of music is obviously unacceptable. We hope that next time we will come to an agreement to have a decent level of music for this occasion,” he said.
He suggested that it would be nicer to have the celebrations organised in the Irish way which would suit the occasion but he does not think that young people would enjoy it, so they need to find a balance to please everyone.
Mr Dalli said that the activity places a financial burden on the council. “The costs will run into €20,000, while we collected €6,000 from the stakeholders. I don’t think the council should have to make up for the difference. If the Government gets involved and holds the party at Ta’ Qali, that would be great, but as long as it is being done in St Julian’s it is not that easy to say let’s not do it. If we do not issue the permits, the bars will still organise parties and people will still come.”
The mayor added that although it creates an inconvenience, this activity also has its positive side.
“It is clear that it leaves a certain amount of income for the bars, NGOs which organise the feast, the entertainment and fireworks, who then spend the income on the local feast, in other words, the residents, Malta, and tourism are benefitting and the money is circulating again in the economy.”
The Chairman of Paceville’s Town Centre Management, Philip Fenech was very firm in his belief that St Patrick’s should continue to be celebrated in St Julian’s.
“I don’t think we should take this away from commercial establishments. They enjoy it. Naturally, it is an injection before Easter and even after Christmas, during a period which is usually a bit quiet, so this gives them a cash flow injection which helps”, he said.
Naturally, St Julian’s will always remain St Julian’s even if year after year it is celebrating in a very profane way the Irish feast of St Patrick’s.