MAYBE the local Council isn’t ‘the Grinch’ it’s being made out to be this Christmas.
After the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council decided to scrap this year’s Halloween fireworks in Enniskillen and not have an official ceremony to switch on the Christmas lights, 10-year-old Oliver Paton made his feelings known to them in a letter.
Instead of saying ‘bah humbug’ in response, however, the Council sent a letter back to Oliver last week explaining the reasons for their decision and reassuring him not to worry.
In his letter, Oliver stated his case perfectly.
“Dear Council, I think that yes living costs are extremely expensive but fireworks are a tradition and everybody loves them,” he wrote.
“It’s not fair that since living costs are very expensive you have to take away fireworks and I don’t know a lot about life but it just isn’t fair, like if it means we have to do a fundraiser we can do it.”
He ended the letter: “P.S. Please write back, thank you.” The envelope was addressed: “The Council. RE: Fireworks in Enniskillen.”
The Council was so impressed they replied and praised him for what he had written.
“It was great to have someone so young give their views so clearly, and I was really impressed in the way you put forward these views,” a Council spokesman wrote.
The letter went on to explain how everyone has had to tighten their belts at the moment and that the Council was no different.
“We in the Council have to make choices on how we spend our money. We must provide some essential services and we have also been asked to provide financial help to those most in need in our community at this difficult time,” the Council letter read.
“I understand there is a view from some people in the community that the Council have lots of money to spend, but that is not true – when costs increase, we have to make choices as to the services we provide, and the services we do not provide.”
The letter admitted that cancelling the Halloween fireworks “was a major disappointment for many – including young people like yourself.”
“I do hope that we can make up for it with the range of Christmas activities that are planned, or supported, by the Council,” the letter concluded.
“I think you have been very brave in writing to the Council in telling us that you do not agree with the choice we made at Halloween, and I am happy to come to your school to talk to your full class to explain the decision in greater detail.”
Oliver, who attends Enniskillen Integrated Primary School, now intends to take the spokesman up on his offer.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition