Belfast Telegraph

DUP Lord Mayor's delight at launching annual Feile an Phobail

By Amanda Poole

Belfast Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson has become the first DUP member holding the office to launch the West Belfast Festival.

The 27-year-old First Citizen yesterday did the honours by launching the 24th Feile an Phobail community festival event which runs from August 2-12.

Speaking at the Falls Park bowling pavilion, he thanked former Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Tom Hartley for inviting him to launch the programme of music, theatre, comedy, debate, exhibitions and sport.

“I am delighted to be here and while I may be the first DUP Lord Mayor to ever launch the programme for Feile an Phobail, this is not the first time I personally have been to a Feile an Phobail event,” he said.

“It is my great privilege to be here and launch such an intensive and expansive programme for what you have planned.

“Feile an Phobail has grown from a grassroots and community level and I think it has been a real testament to all those involved that it has grown, and so successfully so.”

The 6ft 4in Lord Mayor was in jovial mood and said: “The festival is about the same age as I am, and has grown at about the same rate as I have,” he joked.

“Coming from the roots that are deeply planted in west Belfast, it’s a credit to all of those organisers, past and present, that Feile an Phobail now reaches every part of our city — north, south, east and west — and really reflects the true cultural tapestry our city has.”

Mr Robinson said he would love the opportunity to “jostle with” George Galloway at the West Belfast Talks Back event, being held at St Louise’s Comprehensive College on August 8.

“But I am sure there are many people across the city capable of taking on that man,” he added.

Urban-Gaelic performer Tura Arutura then entertained the audience, which included Alex Best, ex-wife of the late football legend George Best, and Miss Ulster Courtenay Fitzpatrick.

Festival director Kevin Gamble said this year’s programme will be “jam-packed with entertainment for all the family”.

Festival highlights

  • Mary Black supported by Gerry Creen (August 3, Clonard Monastery)
  • Youth Talks Back chaired by Stephen Nolan (August 8, Whiterock Leisure Centre)
  • Comedians Eric Lalor and Daniel Dowling with compere Paddy McDonnell (August 9, Feile Marquee)
  • Alabama 3 supported by Shannon and The Shortcuts (August 10, Feile Marquee)
  • Bad Manners with frontman Buster Bloodvessel (below) and Dog House Ska (August 12, Feile Marquee)

For more information visit feilebelfast.com or call 028 90313440

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