23 March 2000 Edition

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Belfast Carnival fun

A bit of rain fell just as the St Patrick's Day revellers gathered on Belfast's Falls Road last Friday, but it didn't seem to dampen the spirits of those gathering there before their departure to City Hall.

Indeed the big crowd, the good humour and the now to be expected colour of the many floats and costumes would have done more to dampen the spirits of those unionists who, once again, refused to fund the St Patrick's Day Carnival.

Ironically, the unionist Lord Mayor Bob Stoker, who supported those who withheld the funds, was himself in New York celebrating and no doubt spending citizens' money.

Anyway, at City Hall Irish dancers danced, the Corpus Christi choir sang, Frances Black put in a great performance, and the ancient Celts savaged all and sundry.

Queen Victoria, who now spends most of her time - perched as she is in the front garden of the Dome of Delight - looking down on Fenians who are always about the place, had the now obligatory tricolour jammed into one of her many crevices and while ``one may not be amused'', one will just have to accept the reality that the St Pat's Day mob are here to stay. So she may get used to the idea that CaitrĂ­ona Ruane and Co will be along next year too.

So the city fathers should go with the `Cold Flow', dish out the dosh, and just have a fun day out next year.

And seriously, if Sammy Wilson has a real problem with being Irish in public, then we'll all turn our backs, let him enjoy the craic, and he can go back to being Sammy the Sasanach on the 18th.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1