ANGER OVER ICE CLOSURE
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
ORGANISERS of a Christmas extravaganza that should have opened in Newry on Saturday have been accused of making "a shambles" of the event.
Angry potential punters say the failure of Newry on Ice: A Winter Wonderland to open on schedule at the weekend was compounded by failure to confirm its continued closure on Sunday or offer explanation for the delay.
Saturday's setback in opening was announced on the event's facebook page. The status update, which came in the afternoon, blamed adverse weather conditions for the delay, but promised: "We will be open tomorrow."
Sunday, however, came and went with no opening - and no further information or updates from Newry on Ice.
One customer who travelled with her family from Downpatrick on Sunday told the Democrat she won't be back.
“It's ridiculous," the mum-of-two who wishes to remain anonymous fumed. "I was left with two very disappointed wee ones and my Sunday afternoon basically wasted. Why the organisers felt no need to let people know they were still shut I just don't understand. It's a shambles."
This sentiment was echoed repeatedly on the event's facebook page on Sunday. Alongside several posts seeking information - none of which garnered any response from Newry on Ice - are posts slamming the event's organisation.
“Newry can't organise a thing," said one. "Went to go to the ice skating there and got stopped by people at the gate saying it wasn't on. They could have put it on their page but they didn't bother. Wouldn't do if you came from a distance to go to it. Different excuse each day." Another blasted: " What a let down for the people of Newry looking forward to this Winter Wonderland, a sham to say the least."
Speaking to the Democrat about the situation, Philip Gaffney, who is spearheading Newry On Ice apologised for Sunday's silence, saying he hadn't realised people had been told the event would open then.
“As far as I was concerned we'd told people we'd update them when we were opening," he said. "Since we weren't opening on Sunday, we posted no updates. It's my fault, I told staff to post something on facebook on Saturday but I wasn't specific about what. I didn't realise the status said we'd be open Sunday. I understand why people are annoyed, I would be annoyed. It was an oversight, it shouldn't have happened but the reason it did is because we're all working so hard on making the sure customers have the best possible experience once the event opens. That's where the focus has been."
Explaining that the delay in opening had been caused by the entire ice rink having to be reassembled after high winds lifted it off the ground, Mr Gaffney pledged that he would update the event's facebook page and Twitter feed "the second we open", which he said would be on Monday afternoon.
The latest controversy comes close on the heels of the event being slammed as a rip-off in a row over ticket prices that saw organisers significantly reduce the original cost of an hour's skating after council officials stepped in.
Send to a friend
Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.