Belfast Telegraph

Frankie Boyle Belfast gig protests to continue

By Rebecca Black

The battle against Frankie Boyle performing at the West Belfast Festival will continue, the family at the forefront of the protest has vowed.

The Feile an Phobail organisers had tried to draw a line under protests against the controversial comedian, who has made jokes about disabled children.

But despite the festival saying sorry and promising to do things differently in future, the show will still go on in Falls Park next week.

While many of those offended by Boyle’s tasteless jokes about people with Down’s syndrome were satisfied by the organisers’ apology, others vowed to fight on.

The Feile for All group opposed to Boyle headlining the festival had held a number of protests outside the organiser’s offices.

The two sides met on Monday and reached an agreement despite the gig still going ahead, and the protest group agreed to disband in time for the opening of the Feile this weekend.

But former spokesman Jon Lundy split from the group late last night, releasing his own statement on behalf of his partner Roisin Curran and children saying he would continue his opposition.

He claimed that Feile told the concerned parents they would not cancel the Boyle gig for three reasons: the popularity of the Scot, the high ticket sales and risk that the annual festival could collapse.

Mr Lundy accused them of sidestepping “this stand for human decency and human dignity”.

Mr Lundy and Ms Curran have a 12-year-old daughter Mia with Down’s syndrome and were at the forefront of the Feile for All protests. Now they have disowned the group.

“I wish to distance myself personally and my family from the ‘joint’ statement from Feile For All and Feile agreeing to quickly fold before Feile an Phobail’s opening ceremony this weekend,” he said.

“I will continue to stand with those people who agree that mocking the disabled is wrong, asking them to sign the petition to register their opposition.”

Ms Curran hit out at Feile for All last night on Facebook, posting the message “moral bankruptcy” on its wall.

Feile an Phobail described the meeting on Monday as “full and frank” and said they had listened to the points that the group had made.

“Feile took this criticism extremely seriously, and stated that they completely appreciate that there has been a deep sense of hurt caused with the booking,” a spokesman said.

They added that they are “deeply sorry for any hurt or offence that has been caused”.

“Feile an Phobail finds the mocking of the disabled totally unacceptable. Going forward, a number of ideas were jointly posted by Feile and the Feile For All group, which included a range of effective measures that Feile would put in place to avoid a situation like this arising in the future.”

The spokesman said a representative from a disability group would sit on the Feile entertainments committee in future “to ensure that such incidents do not re-occur”. Feile also undertook to represent the concerns of the group to Frankie Boyle’s management.

The Feile for All group said they felt they had run a successful campaign despite the Boyle gig remaining on the bill.

“Attacks on the disabled, either verbal or physical, will always be wrong,” a spokesperson said.

“While the gig will continue on this occasion, we remain firmly opposed to this act appearing at our festival.  

“We believe, however, that we have run an extremely successful campaign.

“We have raised the issue of attacks on the most vulnerable within society as being unacceptable and created awareness of disability issues generally.”

Belfast Telegraph


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