Belfast Telegraph

Be prepared for Fleadh tsunami, Derry traders told

By Donna Deeney

Businesses in Londonderry have been told to expect a “tsunami of people” next year when the city hosts the All-Ireland Fleadh.

A delegation from Cavan's Chamber of Commerce was in the city this week to pass on its experiences of hosting the event.

Their counterparts in Derry heard of towns which had previously hosted the fleadh running out of food, drink, ice and even coins.

Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann will be hosted in Derry next year as part of the City of Culture celebrations. It will be the first time it has been held in Northern Ireland.

The traditional music event typically generates in the region of £35-40m and attracts tens of thousands of people. City centre manager Jim Roddy, who organised the visit from the Cavan Chamber, said it was critical that business people in Derry understood the enormity of the event.

Speaking to the North West Telegraph, Mr Roddy added: “Pacelli Lynch, president of Cavan Chamber of Commerce, led a delegation to meet with some of the traders from the city and left us under no illusion as to what we need to get prepared for during the All-Ireland Fleadh.

“Cavan will host this year's event as they have done for the last two years, so they are well placed to pass on their knowledge of what hosting the fleadh means.

“We heard that on the first three days of the fleadh we should expect the city to look like it does on a very busy Saturday, but from the Thursday onward to expect a tsunami of people and if the business community is not prepared they will lose out.’’ The cost of bringing the fleadh to Derry is estimated to be in the region of £1m and while the lion’s share of this will come from government, the Culture Company and other public funding, there may a shortfall that will open up sponsorship possibilities for local business people.

Mr Roddy continued: “Given that the fleadh will generate around £35-40m for the local economy, this is an incredible opportunity where the Derry traders will get huge returns for any sponsorship they contribute.

“We heard at the meeting with the Cavan business people of a bar owner whose turnover for that one week was what it would normally be for a year and a half.

“That is the scale of what we are talking about which is why it is so important we are well prepared for next year.”

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