As thousands of people descend on St Julian’s for St Patrick’s Day, the town’s deputy mayor has said the time has come for it to be celebrated in a more spacious area.
“The Beerfest used to be held in Ta’ Xbiex but moved to Ta’ Qali as it grew in popularity and I think the same has to happen for St Patrick’s Day,” Albert Buttigieg told Lovin Malta. “Spinola is a small village square and wasn’t built to cater for 30,000 people. Can you imagine if a fight were to break out or if someone were to fall sick in the middle of the crowd?”
“Can you imagine if, God forbid, there had to be a stampede? People would have nowhere else to go but to jump into the sea.”
The street party kicked off this afternoon and will continue until midnight, after which music will have to be turned off. Although it has grown in popularity over the years, it has become something of an annual bugbear for several St Julian’s residents, who have to cope with closed-off roads and rowdy revellers.
Buttigieg has been a harsh critic of the festivities over the years, once describing it as “the final insult” for residents, who have to cope with businesses hogging up more and more pavements and parking spaces all year round.
“This event is a good excuse to binge, and sadly it reinforces the culture of having fun through irresponsible consumption of alcohol,” he wrote in 2017. “I am sure that if the police cared enough to administer the breathalyzer test, they would have had a very busy night. But why bother? People, after all, came to have fun!”
“The residents are not against people having fun, nor are they against entertainment outlets. What irked some of them most was being unable to enter or leave their homes because too many people were blocking their way. Others had to endure music blaring till the early hours.”
“Many had to face unrestrained youths, cleaning up their vomit or human waste from their doorsteps. St Julian’s turned into an “orgy of binge drinkers”.
“In a civilised society, no one ought to have fun at the expense of others. St Patrick’s Day is not a community-based event, such as our annual feast or the Lapsi event, when the whole community comes together. St Patrick’s is purely a private commercial event with the sole intent of making money – lots of money.”