LAST weekend's Notting Hill Carnival was described by local priests as "a tremendous success" despite all the adverse publicity which preceded it.
Fr Oliver McTernan of the St Francis of Assisi parish slammed the national press as "quite irresponsible in the way it hyped up the situation".
"The critics and those who wanted the carnival banned were all proved wrong, and I'm specially pleased about that" he told the Catholic Herald.
Fr McTernan's parish joined with neighbouring St Mary of the Angels to produce a costumed band for the festival, and St Mary's priest Fr Michael Hollings echoed praise for the way the carnival was conducted.
"The big police presence didn't spoil the occasion, but it was a bit like living in a concentration camp over the weekend. There were big steel barricades all round the festival area and you had to ask permission to get in and out", he complained to the Catholic Herald. "It was a nuisance for the local residents".
Fr Hollings celebrated Mass in his church on Saturday evening, an event traditionally attended by local dignitaries on carnival weekend.
"We had a very crowded church and a wonderful atmosphere", he said. "There were various high commissioners here, and the local mayor. It was followed by a big street party which was very positive", he said.
"The whole weekend went off very well, but no doubt there will still be those who will want the carnival banned next year, and it would be a mistake to think that its future is completely secure", he said.