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2014 Strabane St Patrick’s Day Parade

Saturday 08.03.2014
Team Talk Mag
Club


After many long months of meetings, organising and the building of floats etc, the Annual St Patrick’s Day Parade in Strabane is once again ready and raring to go with many groups, sports clubs, schools and various other organisations putting in a massive effort yet again to ensure that this years parade will be bigger and better than ever before with seven of our local marching bands again participating. Over the past eight years the annual St Patrick’s Day parades in the town have been hailed by very many as portraying the more positive side of Strabane as opposed to the constant bad press that the town receives and it’s hoped that this Monday’s parade will strengthen that positive image of the town and district and also the dedication, commitment and effort of all the volunteers and the various groups that have worked so hard to ensure another great day for the people of the Strabane District and the surrounding areas such as East Donegal.
The organising committee are extremely grateful to each and every person who has given voluntarily of their time and effort over many months and also to the local business community for their continued generosity in providing us with sponsorship to ensure that the parade will once again be a success.
We also wish to acknowledge Strabane District Council who as always have kindly provided funding and guidance towards the event. We are hoping that people from right throughout the entire district and visitors from other areas who will come into the town this Monday will enjoy what should be yet another memorable parade.
Several of the groups participating in the parade have been working on various themes and again everyone is sure to be impressed by their hard work which will add a lot of colour and excitement to the day’s proceedings.
The parade will assemble at two different points, the floats, vintage cars and tractors will assemble at the Dublin Road Industrial Estate beside O’Neill’s Sportswear whilst the walking groups and bands will assemble at St Mary’s Church, Melmount Road. All of the parade participants are asked to be in attendance by 1.30pm as the parade will commence at 2:00pm sharp and proceed along the Melmount Road via Bridge Street, Market Street, Abercorn Square and Railway Street finishing up at the Score Site in Dock Street.
Sadly the regular Grand Marshall of the parade since its inception back in 2006, Pat Gillespie who is one of Strabane’s oldest and well respected citizens is unable to fulfil his role this year as he is recovering in hospital from a recent traffic accident. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him return next year to assume his customary role. A replacement for Pat is currently being sought so please keep an eye out for who will be in the lead car!
An open invitation is still out there for any group or individual who wishes to play any part either in the parade or helping out with the various duties on the day. A final meeting will take place this Thursday night (13th March) at 7.00pm in Strabane Library and all participating groups are requested to be in attendance as a short briefing session on the roles of the stewards will be delivered by Robbie Houston, Strabane District Council who has given us great help and support over the past two years.
We are also indebted to the Strabane Community Rescue Service who this year will be providing the bulk of the stewards for the parade and also to the local Order of Malta and St John’s Ambulance for their First Aid cover on the day. More stewards are still urgently required so if you are available to help out then please contact any member of the organising committee and we will find a role for you to assist us with.
We are also urging the participating groups and spectators to obey the instructions of the stewards and in particular sounding a word of caution to motorists to please ensure that side roads are not blocked or to be engaging in double parking along the parade route as it could prove to be a major hazard in the event of an emergency situation arising. We urge everyone to please assist and co-operate with the stewards and the emergency services present on the day of the parade and hopefully everyone can enjoy and celebrate the feast day of our national saint without any hassle.
We would ask everyone to please note that the Lost Child Point this year will be situated at The Alley with dedicated Child Protection persons on hand should any situations arise.
There will be a few added treats at this year’s parade with Strabane Radio Online broadcasting live from Market Street with their popular presenters Tommy Forbes and Siobhan Redstone on stage to keep the listeners and the assembled crowd entertained and informed. The station can be accessed by logging on to www.strabaneradio.com so please spread the word to relatives or friends away from home or living abroad so they can listen into the proceedings.
SDC.TV will also be streaming live from the parade with Natasha Donaghy behind the camera. SDC.TV can be accessed by logging on to www.facebook.com/sdc.tv or at www.youtube.com/sdctvstrabane
The Niamh Browne School of Irish Dance will also perform a special routine in Market Street prior to the arrival of the parade in the town centre which is sure to enthral the large body of people that gather here yearly.
The committee have once again this year adopted a safe drink message for the parade in partnership with the Strabane District Civic Drugs & Alcohol Forum and the Time2Change community mobilisation project with the theme being; RESPECT THE SHAMROCK: WET IT DON’T DROWN IT! We would appeal to all those participating in the parade and to all spectators to try and abide by this message and in doing so you will be playing your part in portraying a positive image of Strabane.
The St Patrick’s Day committee will be holding a street collection in the town next Monday and are appealing to the general public to please give generously as we seek to offset the costs of the annual event and also in order to make plans for next year.
Finally we are appealing to everyone to please come out to view the parade in order to show their support for both the organising committee and all the participating groups who have worked diligently over the past few months to ensure a successful parade and another great day for the Strabane district.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh – Happy St Patrick’s Day to you all

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