Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Pride event to go ahead as police called in over 'governance issues'

Participants in a previous Newry Pride Parade.
Participants in a previous Newry Pride Parade.
Claire Richards
Heather Small
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

An International UK and Ireland Pride event in Newry is to go ahead despite a council pulling funding, organisers have said.

Newry Mourne and Down District Council said it would not be providing any more cash for the UK and Ireland Pride event to take place in the city because of "governance concerns" and it was investigating the matter.

Around 50,000 people are expected to attend. Organisers Pride in Newry emphatically denied there were any such governance concerns.

It said the claims were "unsubstantiated" and there was no evidence to back them up. It said it had worked with the council over recent months with all requested information.

Police said they are considering a report on the matter.

International UK and Ireland Pride is one of three global events that are running as part of the Stonewall 50 campaign, the others being World Pride in New York and Europride in Vienna.

Pride in Newry received £60,000 of a promised £125,000 from the council. The £60,000 the council granted in February has been used to cover deposits for concert infrastructure, as well as acts such as Steps' lead singer Claire Richards, M People's Heather Small and B*Witched.

While an event takes place every year in Newry it is the first time it is hosting the UK and Ireland Pride event.

Organisers said both the packed festival programme and the parade would go ahead.

Two applications have been submitted for the parade. One with 10,000 participants and 50,000 spectators and another with 1,000 participants and 3,000 spectators.

"A full Pride Guide has been published with thousands of copies already distributed throughout the district and Indeed across the UK & Ireland," organisers said.

"The international festival will commence on 22 August 2019 through to the parade, free open air concert and fireworks display on 31 August.

"We are looking forward to welcoming our many international visitors from around the world to this prestigious event."

In a statement Newry Mourne and Down District Council said: "Regrettably, the council is not in a position to release any more funds at this time due to governance related concerns. The matter remains under investigation and further information will be released once it becomes available.”

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