Workers Party representative Gemma Weir has described as “insulting, short sighted and deeply offensive” suggestions that the Belfast Marathon and other events could be prevented from taking place because of legislation which seeks to penalise certain public events.
“This year almost 17,000 people from across Northern Ireland and the world took part in the 33rd Belfast Marathon. Changes to the Roads Act (NI) are designed to further limit the use of public space in this city by imposing unrealistic and unfair financial restrictions on event organisers and participants. This is insulting, short sighted and deeply offensive”, she said
Public use “Public spaces and public roads are just that – public. They should be safeguarded, developed and enhanced for public use not commodified and exploited”, said Gemma
“The social, financial, cultural and health benefits derived from events like the Belfast Marathon are immeasurable. Countless thousands of citizens from Belfast and beyond have been inspired to take up exercise, contribute to charities and spectate and support the event over the years. That legacy must be valued, safeguarded and developed”, she said.
Protected “The Department of Communites and the Department of Health should demonstrate the worth of public events like the marathon by underwriting the required costs of policing and traffic management. Unless that public commitment is forthcoming we will soon see the introduction of charges for runs, club training sessions and family fun days in our local parks”.
“The public space, public roads and public access must be protected from people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing”, concluded Gemma