Belfast Telegraph

Call for no repeat of pro-IRA chants at Wolfe Tones gig

The Wolfe Tones concert last year
The Wolfe Tones concert last year
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

A DUP councillor has called on Feile an Phobail organisers to ensure this year's event doesn't end like it did last year, with pro-IRA chanting at a concert.

George Dorrian issued the plea on the same day tickets went on sale for The Wolfe Tones, who will play a headline gig at Falls Park on August 11 as part of the West Belfast Festival.

Their 2018 concert finished amid controversy when chants including "Up the Ra" were sung by many in the 10,000-strong crowd on the same day families gathered in Omagh to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Real IRA bombing that claimed 31 lives.

Mr Dorrian told the Belfast Telegraph that a recurrence of last year's performance - during which Tricolours daubed with IRA slogans were also waved by fans who'd gathered see the Irish rebel band - would not be tolerated. "There absolutely cannot be a repeat of last year's incident," he said.

"The onus is on the organisers to ensure that the event is inclusive of everyone and that's what we'll be expecting to see."

Belfast City Council is one of the principal funders of the festival, alongside the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland.

The confirmed that members agreed to pump around £300,000 of public money into this year's event.

"We work with all our funded cultural partners to promote a sense of shared celebrations for the city," she said.

The Belfast Telegraph understands that there are no conditions attached to the council funding.

The Arts Council said it supports Feile an Phobail with annual funding of £116,599 "which covers some of the organisation's core costs and overheads, as well as an element of their arts programme".

Tourism NI did not respond to a request for comment at the time of going to print.

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