The organisers of Letterkenny’s St. Patrick’s Day parade have been asked to contribute around 2,000 euro to the cost of policing this year’s parade.
It is the first time organisers of the parade have been asked by gardaí to help pay for policing. The request was made at a meeting on Monday with gardaí ahead of the parade, giving Letterkenny Chamber just ten days to factor in the additional costs.
The parade costs between 15,000 and 18,000 euro to run and Letterkenny Chamber says it will have to cut costs to cover the cost of paying gardaí. The chamber has had to cancel plans to use a private security firm on the day of the parade as a result of the extra costs. CEO of the chamber, Toni Forrester, would not confirm the amount that has been requested but it is understood to be in the region of 2,000 euro.
She said the chamber was disappointed that a cost was required for a parade as funding the event is already a difficult task. She stressed that the parade is “run on a shoestring” and that the chamber receives no public funding for the event. “We depend on businesses and the general public to make contributions and that is very tough. I understood in the last year that events would be asked to pay for policing but I did not think the St. Patrick’s Day parade would be one of them,” she said. “For a parade that lasts an hour and a half I think it is tough. Health and safety is at the front of our minds when running a parade,” she said.
She said the cost of policing as well as additional insurance demands was making the running of outdoor events problematic.
Letterkenny’s superintendent was not available for comment yesterday but it is understood the move to seek a contribution follows a directive from Garda headquarters. St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday this year and it is expected to be a busy day in the town with up to 10,000 people expected to watch the parade on the Saturday afternoon.