Belfast Telegraph

Derry chosen to host music festival

Derry has been chosen to host Ireland's national traditional music festival - bringing the event north of the Irish border for the first time.

The decision was announced in Dublin after a dramatic U-turn earlier this week, when it was feared violence by dissident republicans might see organisers opt for rival bids from Sligo or Ennis in the Irish Republic.

The annual all-Ireland Fleadh attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the town or city chosen to host it, generating millions in revenue. The Fleadh will now be held in Derry in 2013 when it will be UK City of Culture.

Stormont Junior Minister Martina Anderson, who represents the Derry area and who attended the vote, hailed the decision. "When you consider the largest cultural festival anywhere in the world is going to take place in Derry, it is a great honour for all of us," she said.

The Sinn Fein representative said the decision followed lobbying by politicians and senior police officers, who she said had reassured organisers over any security concerns.

Ms Anderson said the event could bring 300,000 visitors to Derry and generate close to 40 million euro (£34 million). The Derry delegation erupted in celebration when it was announced that, following the withdrawal of the Ennis bid, Derry had won.

It is the first time in the 60-year history of the all-Ireland Fleadh that it will be held in Northern Ireland.

Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness welcomed the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann decision.

Mr Robinson said: "This is a vote of confidence in Londonderry and it will generate significant cultural and economic benefit to the city and surrounding areas. It is a proud and historic city with a rich heritage and the hosting of this event will be one of the highlights of the UK City of Culture celebrations."

Mr McGuinness added: "This is a great day for Derry and the north and I wish to thank all those who have played a part in securing this outcome. I commend Comhaltas for this leap of faith in the city - it was no doubt a difficult decision but Derry had a compelling bid."


From Belfast Telegraph