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Plug pulled on Happy Days International Beckett Festival after funding is cut in half

By Allan Preston

Published 08/06/2016

Artistic director: Sean Doran
Artistic director: Sean Doran

A major arts festival in Enniskillen has been cancelled after funding was cut when the organisers failed to provide details of previous spending.

The Happy Days International Beckett Festival celebrates the life and works of playwright Samuel Beckett and had been due to enter its fifth year.

But a statement from the festival's artistic directors, Sean Doran and Liam Browne, posted on the Happy Days website yesterday, announced that it had been called off.

"This is due to the loss of one of our core funders.

"We considered the option of a shorter and smaller festival with the support of our other funders but the festival would have been too pressed financially to reach the standards you have come to expect in the past four years," they said.

A spokeswoman from the Arts Council for Northern Ireland confirmed last night that the festival's funding had been cut in half due to issues over spending.

"The Happy Days International Beckett Festival was ineligible for 2016/17 funding by the Arts Council because the organisation did not meet the conditions of the grant awarded the previous year (2015/16)," she said.

"The festival organisers were unable to make their records of expenditure for the 2015/16 festival available, consequently just 50% of the full award was paid out," the spokeswoman added.

The organisers said that "the Board and ourselves will now try to persuade our core funders, and indeed new funders, to help us secure a more stable financial future".

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