Concerns expressed over 'direction' Winterval is taking

Concerns expressed over 'direction' Winterval is taking

Waterford Councillors have expressed concerns at the direction in which 'Winterval' is heading.

The matter was highlighted by multiple councillors at this month's Metropolitan District meeting.

Cllr Jason Murphy noted that he has heard a number of complaints about the Christmas festival not being as accessible to people with limited means as it has in the past.

The Fianna Fail councillor acknowledged that while Covid has had an effect, the festival has become very expensive.

'Back to basics'


The Christmas Festival, Ireland's largest, is currently in its ninth year, and Cllr Murphy said things needed to go back to basics in 2022:

"We need to get back to what it was about, that it was an accessible Christmas festival that was open to all no matter what your income that you could enjoy it. Now I don't want to use the term 'money-racket' but it certainly costs money if you want to go in and enjoy it. You can't experience it unless you have a considerable amount of money in your pocket, particularly if you have a family."

Cllr Eddie Mulligan said he also had concerns that he was holding off on expressing until after Christmas, but after Cllr Murphy raised it, he concurred with the sentiments and called for a meeting regarding its future.

Trading costs

Cllr Cristiona Kiely highlighted the cost of trading at Winterval. The Green party councillor, who comes from a business background, said they had decided not to trade at the festival due to the prohibitive cost involved:


"Cllr Murphy said it's expensive, it is, and no wonder because the traders have to pay so much to have a stall there. I was at Yulefest in Kilkenny the following weekend and there were more Waterford food traders in Kilkenny than at Winterval, and I think Winterval needs a full revisit, I really strongly think we need to look at it in the New Year."

Fergus Galvin, the Director of Roads, Planning and the Environment with the local authority, told councillors that a number of the free events such as the lights show held in previous years in Cathedral Square, could not take place due to public health concerns over Covid-19. However, it was intended to reintroduce those elements next year.