Belfast Telegraph

DUP hits out at name of Ceoil, Craic agus Carnival in Tyrone

By Donna Deeney

A DUP councillor has questioned why St Patrick's Day celebrations in Strabane have to have an Irish language title.

Councillor Drew Thompson objected to the planned festivities banner "Ceoil, Craic agus Carnival" in the Co Tyrone town, arguing that people from the Protestant, unionist and loyalist communities would feel it wasn't inclusive.

Mr Thompson has also questioned a decision at a Business and Culture Committee meeting that Derry and Strabane Council takes over the St Patrick's Day celebrations and invests another £20,000 in funding.

He said he was concerned the council was setting a precedent that would leave it wide open to pressure to take over funding for other festivals.

Mr Thompson is also unhappy with the nature of the celebrations.

He added: "Why do they need an Irish title on the festival when it is to do with St Patrick when everyone already knows St Patrick is Irish?

"I know nothing about the Irish language and I am not into making a mockery of anything but my problem is the Irish title will be seen by the PUL community as alienating.

"If unionist people from that area see that title, they are going to wonder if it is welcoming to them and if they are really being invited to join the event.

"I have nothing against the Irish music, the Irish dance or Irish food but why not just call this the St Patrick's Day Festival? Why put an Irish name on it? It isn't necessary."

A spokeswoman for Derry and Strabane Council said: "Council's Business and Culture Committee approved funding of £30,000 for the enhancement of the St Patrick's Day Spring Carnival festivities in Strabane for 2018.

"Members welcomed the decision to allocate the additional £20,000 on top of the original budget of £10,000 for an extended programme of events which have been backed by the original St Patrick's Day Committee behind the town's annual celebration.

"A proposed festival working theme is 'Ceoil, Craic agus Carnival' featuring a community focused carnival parade and plenty of family friendly activities."

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