St. Patrick’s day has become one of Malta’s most favourite events. It takes place on the 17th March of every year and thousands of people storm St. Julian’s, in particular Spinola Bay, to celebrate this event. The typical scene would be people drinking beer like there is no tomorrow and a general party theme with loud music radiating over the entire bay. When taking into account the amount of people attending St. Patrick’s, it may be worth considering a different place to host this event, especially with the size limitations of Spinola Bay. Although St. Patrick’s day is an enjoyable event for most, in this article we discuss the feasibility of it all and whether we can prepare better for it.
For one thing, the size restrictions of Spinola Bay in comparison to the amount of people that attend the event may cause problems if someone needs immediate and urgent attention, whilst he is within the crowd. One asks, what is the procedure if someone had to faint or fall on the floor amidst such a heavy crowd. Are there adequate procedures in place for this possible occurrence? Ambulance procedure for example? In addition to this, what would happen if people are required to leave the area immediately? Imagine the chaos a stampede would cause!
Apart from the crowd control related problems, there is also the issue of security. How does this event impact the residents? Do residents feel safe amongst all the swarms of people consuming alcohol? What about the potential vandalism? In this regard, a hotline was set up to receive complaints from residents. People in St. Julian’s would also have trouble going out of their homes or visiting another locality due to the crowd and traffic. Yes this happens a few hours every year, putting election-related activities aside where the infamous Spinola bay always ends up the victim.
One must also mention the level of waste and rubbish left on the streets of St. Julian’s after the event. Following the last St. Patrick’s event, just a few days ago, more than fifteen tonnes of rubbish were collected over the night. To clean up the mess left behind, people had to work during the night and also ensure that all streets were open in the morning to accommodate the usual traffic. Around two thousand Euro were spent to clean up St. Julian’s with the local council catering for the cost.
Deputy Mayor of St. Julian’s, Mr Albert Buttigieg has raised his concern over the past years and stated that St. Julian’s should no longer accommodate St. Patrick’s day parties and that it should be moved to an alternative venue.
Where do you suggest Malta should celebrate such big events? How about Mdina?