Northern Ireland news

Fire Service describes Halloween 2018 as "relatively quiet"

The Halloween carnival celebrations in Derry city. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Marie Louise McConville

FIREFIGHTERS responded to six per cent fewer calls on Halloween night this year compared to last.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) described October 31 as "relatively quiet".

Between 6pm on Halloween and 1am yesterday, the control centre received 134 emergency calls and fire crews responded to 83 operational incidents. Of the incidents, 19 were bonfire-related.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Walmsley said there had been no reported incidents of crews being attacked.

Meanwhile, 100,000 people descended on Derry for the annual Halloween parade and fireworks display.

The Halloween carnival celebrations in Derry city. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

The Return of the Ancients festival was extended this year courtesy of the largest ever budget, of almost £400,000.

The Derry event, believed to be Europe's biggest Halloween gathering, saw the city's walls came alive with revellers dressed in an array of colourful costumes.

As part of the Halloween event, Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place has been transformed into a harvest market for the nine-day festival.

The Halloween carnival celebrations in Derry city. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Speaking to BBC NI News, Aeidin McCarter, head of culture at Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the numbers who attended the event was a "ringing endorsement of the extension of this year's festival".

"We have seen in excess of 20,000 people per night coming out for the Awakening the Walls trail and over 30,000 attended the Halloween night parade and fireworks displays, bringing the total figure to in excess of 100,000 people," she said.

"It takes months of work on the ground to host an event of this magnitude but it is extremely rewarding for our all our council teams when the public give their backing to the programme by attending in such large numbers."

Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Foyle in Derry city on Halloween night to watch the spectacular fireworks display. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

The Halloween carnival celebrations in Derry city. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

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