Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein fails to block extra £10k for Foyle Cup despite concerns over spending

By Peter Hutcheon

Sinn Fein has refused to support an increase of funding of £10,000 for this year's Foyle Cup tournament.

The party's five councillors on Derry City and Strabane District Council's health and community committee voted against the funding at Thursday's meeting in Strabane.

Sinn Fein councillor Eric McGinley said that while his party supported the Foyle Cup, the council had turned down funding requests from other organisations.

"Sinn Fein is a great supporter of the Foyle Cup and it is important to say that the council has been a consistent supporter of the event," he said.

"Increased support from the Tourist Board is welcome, but I think all sponsors of the tournament should be asked to increase their support.

"We need to ask our officers to find other ways that we can support his event."

Organisers of the tournament had appealed for the extra £10,000 to cover the cost of travel and extra referees with an increased number of teams participating in this summer's tournament.

More than 380 will take part in this year's event, up from 344 last year.

A total of 18 clubs from the USA are taking part in the competition this year.

Ulster Unionist Derek Hussey said he was concerned that as the tournament got bigger each year, the request for extra funding would recur each year as well.

But SDLP councillor Shauna Cusack said that it was worth the money.

"This event grows and grows every year and it a great showcase for our city. It is a fantastic tournament which encourages young people to get involved in sport," she said.

"The council needs to find the money as this is a very worthy investment."

The request for the £10,000 is in addition to funding of £51,812 the council is giving to this year's event.

The tournament is also funded by Causeway Coast and Glens Council, which provides £10,200; Tourism NI, which increased its funding by £5,000 to £20,000 last year, the Executive Office (£15,000), and the Department for Communities (£16,000).

The extra £10,000 has not yet been budgeted for, and the money will need to come from underspends.

In agreeing to find the extra money, councillors also paid tribute to the work of tournament organiser Michael Hutton.

In a recorded vote, eight councillors supported the proposal with five against.

Belfast Telegraph

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