Security for Santa switch-on ‘excessive’

Up to a dozen personnel hired in to ‘police’ Christmas lights event
THE level of security at the Christmas light switch on in Enniskillen has been labelled ‘excessive’ with some onlookers reporting up to a dozen hired-in personnel to man the event at the Diamond
Hundreds of people gathered in The Diamond in Enniskillen for the big Christmas light switch on Saturday evening, and security guards lined the barriers and streets as Santa made his grand entrance.
A reader got in touch with the Herald after he noticed at least ten security guards in the one area during the switch on.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council claim that the cost of the security at the switch on was just £1,491, and that the security was employed to follow health and safety regulations. 
The reader said, “I noticed that there was an excessive security presence at the Christmas light switch. 
“I am not sure why so much security was needed to control a crowd of families and young children coming out to Santa arrive and switch on the lights. As ratepayers, this is our money being spent, and to me, it seemed excessive. 
“ Security is important but I do not see why we should be forking out for this when there clearly was not going to be a riot.”
The Council have defended the high level of secutiry due to the volume of people who attend the event. 
Meanwhile, in other parts of the county, those responsible for the Lisnaskea Christmas lights are looking for volunteers to assist with stewarding. 
“We are looking for at least four people to assist with marshalling in the Market Yard on Saturday for the switching on of the Christmas Lights. 
“Help will be required from 2.30pm to approx 5pm. If anyone is available to assist please contact Eamon Shannon ASAP.”
A spokesman for the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council claimed the level of security was similar to previous years.
 “The Christmas lights switch on events in Enniskillen and Omagh are two of the largest events within the Council’s annual events calendar in terms of scale and crowd attendance. Since Christmas 2015, the Council has employed a number of event stewards for the Christmas lights switch on, in accordance with health and safety and Event management guidelines to ensure that all those in attendance have an enjoyable and safe experience. 
The number of event stewards at this year’s Enniskillen switch on event was similar to that of previous years. 
The cost of event stewarding at the Enniskillen Christmas lights switch on event was £1,491.00.”

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