Belfast Telegraph

Peter Robinson joins call for All-Ireland Fleadh in Derry

First and Deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness have backed Londonderry as the venue for the All-Ireland Fleadh in 2013.

The Assembly leaders have written to the organisers suggesting that as Derry will hold the UK City of Culture title that year, it would be an appropriate opportunity to bring the event north of the border for the first time.

The organisers of the Fleadh, a festival which attracts up to 250,000 visitors and 10,000 musicians from all over the world, confirmed that they will be in Derry within the next few weeks for meetings which could see the event being held in the city.

Fleadh director general Senator Labhras O Murchu said they had received a letter from Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness asking for the event be held in Derry in 2013, and pointing out that since the Good Friday Agreement things had changed tremendously.

Senator O Murchu said: “We are looking at the possibility of holding the Fleadh in Derry in 2013 and we will come to the city next month to assist with the application and meet with councillors and other parties to discuss the finer points such as accommodation that would be available during the Fleadh. “There certainly is no reason why the Fleadh could not be staged north of the border and it very nearly was when Warrenpoint put in an application which narrowly missed out, and that was during the height of the Troubles.”

On a local level, councillor Mark H Durkan said staging the Fleadh in Derry would be a real coup for the city.

He added: “The All-Ireland Fleadh is a major cultural and social event on this island.

“It attracts musicians and lovers of music not just from all across Ireland but from across the world.

“Having the Fleadh here would be an excellent opportunity to showcase our truly unique Irish culture to visitors from all around the world.

“The impact of such a high-calibre event on the local economy would be very positive and much-needed. Also, it would give Derry's own traditional music scene a tremendous boost.

“I have often said that staging events is essential to grow tourist numbers to Derry — and events don't come much bigger than the Fleadh.”

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