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‘Incompetent’: Singer blasts Stormont after his Ulster Hall gigs are cancelled

Every local artist wants to play the Ulster Hall, says 27-year-old after winning support slots


Ryan McMullan

Ryan McMullan

Sionan Murphy

Sionan Murphy

Van Morrison

Van Morrison

Ryan McMullan

Ryan McMullan


Ryan McMullan

Singer Ryan McMullan last night hit out at the Stormont Executive after major gigs planned for the Ulster Hall in Belfast next week had to be cancelled. 

The popular Portaferry singer broke the news of the cancellations in a hard hitting social media post which accused Stormont of “incompetence”.

It had been expected that theatres and concert venues would be able to open from Monday, but the Executive confirmed on Thursday they will be meeting again next week to make a decision.

In a punchy video message on his social media channels, singer Ryan McMullan told fans: “Hey everyone, so I’ve just found out the gigs are cancelled.

“Our government are just so incompetent.

“We can literally get on a plane, fly to England, go to a night club (at) full capacity, fly home and that’s OK.

“But we can’t just go to the Ulster Hall at 25% capacity.

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‘So the gigs are cancelled, everybody will get their tickets refunded. But if they won’t let us do a gig inside, we’re going to do a couple outside.

“So stay peeled — and hopefully you still wanna come to a show.”

A spokesman for Ryan McMullan said refunds were being issued for the Ulster Hall gigs.

He said that he was hopeful the gigs could be rearranged to an outdoor setting in the future if the current restrictions remains. “We can’t keep moving them to work within the Executive’s rollout plan which keeps changing.

“There’s thousands of jobs and careers in the arts that are on their hands and knees and are truly suffering.”

It’s the second time this month the Co Down star has had to cancel planned Ulster Hall shows due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Next week’s shows — now axed — had already been rescheduled from last weekend.

Singer-songwriter Sionan Murphy from Crossmaglen, who was set to support Ryan McMullan at his Belfast concerts next week, was among the many facing disappointment last night after news of the cancellations broke.

Sionan (27) had been over the moon to learn that she had been chosen from dozens of contenders to warm up for the Portaferry artist at his Ulster Hall gigs on July 27 and 28.

Last night she said the cancellation of the Ulster Hall gigs was disappointing news — but out of the musician’s control, adding she was hopeful that she would get to perform when they were rescheduled.

The shows next week were set to be her most prestigious to date — and had come about after she was chosen by Ryan to be his support act after sending one of her own songs to him.

Speaking shortly before news of the cancellation broke, Sionan said: “I just happened to be scrolling through social media when I noticed that Ryan McMullan had just posted that he was looking for a support act for his Ulster Hall gigs,” she said.

Meanwhile Sir Van Morrison has cancelled a number of concerts in the Ulster Hall next week, blaming “draconian” delays from Stormont on relaxing live music restrictions.

In a statement, the singer said he now had no choice but to cancel the dates.

The singer said that the decision impacted everyone from musicians and crew to those that have purchased tickets and made travel arrangements

“It’s time for a real plan and real leadership. I have tried to be constructive over the past 16 months, engaging with government to propose practical suggestions as to how we bring back live music events based on robust individual health and safety risk assessments,” he said.

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