Belfast City Council is seeking approval to cancel next year’s St Patrick’s Day concert at Custom House Square on health and safety grounds.
On Wednesday, the local authority will ask the council’s Growth and Regeneration Committee to amend the 2018 celebrations to a parade-only event, despite the popularity of the concert, which has been staged for the past 11 years and regularly draws a crowd of thousands.
The decision will then go to November’s full council meeting to be ratified.
This year’s concert at Custom House Square was headlined by X Factor runner-up Fleur East, while former Westlife star Brian McFadden took to the stage the previous year.
A report due to be presented to councillors this week advises that the changes “are designed to increase the robustness of health and safety plans attached to the event”.
It says that the measures will “assist in reducing significant health and safety concerns that now pose a major risk to the public, contractors and council staff during the St Patrick’s Day events”.
It states: “Over the last 11 years, both events have been staged to mark the Bank Holiday, with a city centre audience in excess of 20,000.
“However, the capacity to host the concert, at Custom House Square, has become an issue of concern in the last number of years.
“The key is the number of people trying to access the concert site after the parade, with significant congestion and safety issues at the intersection of High Street, Victoria Street and Queen’s Square/Custom House Square.
“It is expected that the level of congestion will increase significantly given that the 2018 event will be staged on a Saturday.
“In addition to this, it is notable that after the initial influx, audience numbers tend to fluctuate, particularly depending on the weather.”