Winterval, which began on Friday last, is something all involved in its running and co-ordination should be very proud of. It is surely the best winter/festive event of its kind in the country and represents great entertainment for children.
There’s so much for adults to enjoy too; and we hope that locals, along with visitors coming into Waterford, will also support our city centre retailers.
Those among us, particularly of a younger age, are inclined to shop online, and it’s fair to assume that they don’t spend too much time thinking about the fact that a local spend of €10 can generate a €50 investment in the local economy.
So if you are going to shop online, why not make it a local business that benefits; thus keeping your cash at home, so to speak.
Crafts made locally are always popular, and with that in mind, we’d recommend a visit to the Christmas Craft Fair at Garter Lane.
And one hopes that there will be an improvement in the overall consumer spend in retail given the slow but sure improvement in the economic picture.
The Polish community is once again putting together a Winterval shop in Georges Court, while stalls across the city centre will be packed with the fruits of local labour.
Dungarvan is once again splendidly decorated, while Tramore has similarly upped its game in this respect. And with the lights to be turned on in Carrick-on-Suir, we cannot beat the ‘shop local’ drum loudly enough.
These shops deserve our custom for the employment they create and sustain, paying rates and making other significant contributions to our local communities.
There’ll be a great number of visitors coming back to the region over the next few weeks and they too should be encouraged also to spend a little extra in their old haunt.
Meanwhile, the annual Saint Vincent de Paul appeal runs in Waterford from Thursday, November 26th through to Sunday, November 29th, so please give what you can.
While we are looking forward to Christmas, as we go to print this week, much of Brussels remains in lockdown in a new era of fear catalysed by the Daesh-claimed attacks in Paris, which we reported on last week.
The prospect of an Anglo-French offensive in Syria looks increasingly likely in the wake of the Paris attacks, which has caused immense shock across the world.
During the 1970s and 80s, we lived with the prospect of terror, so many of us have readily empathised with grief-stricken Parisians.
The more we read about Daesh (their other religious prefix, used widely, does Islam, on the whole, a gross disservice, in our view), the more difficult it is to see how a peaceful, diplomatic resolution can be reached.
It is sad to see, in 2015, slavery, beheadings and mass executions in Syria. Yet this is how Daesh, this death cult, operate. Destruction is their ideology.
But if there is to be a long-term resolution to the Syrian War, then Iran and Turkey must be major players in bringing about much needed stability in the region.
Tighter border security is now inevitable, as will be increased checks at airports and ferry terminals, and the security at next year’s Euro 2016 Finals – in France – will be unprecedented. Peace in Syria must be the number one priority of world leaders in the year ahead.