All-Ireland winner Anne ‘confident’ of fleadh in city

Sinn Fein councillor, Anne Brolly.
Sinn Fein councillor, Anne Brolly.
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Sinn Fein councillor, Anne Brolly is “confident” the All Ireland Fleadh will be held in Derry in 2013 during its Year of Culture, writes Sheena Jackson.

Speaking after news of the row last week about whether the city should host the event during the UK City of Culture celebrations, the All-Ireland winning performer believes whatever differences have arisen will be resolved.

The Derry county board of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann held a five-hour meeting last Wednesday to discuss the bid by the Derry city branch of Comhaltas to host the international event, which would bring an estimated 300,000 visitors and £40 million to the city. The meeting ended in deadlock after objectors to the bid, mainly from Comhaltas branches from south Derry, refused to endorse it. The objectors said the fleadh should not be held in Derry during the UK City of Culture year in 2013.

However, those behind the bid to bring the All-Ireland fleadh to Derry in 2013 have insisted that their plans are “still on track”.

Colr Brolly, one of the best-known singers in the North West, won the main competition in the English singing (women) competition at the 1972 All-Ireland fleadh, which was held in Kerry.

“Having an international stage to showcase our language, our songs, our dance, our culture, would be fantastic,” she told the ‘Journal’.

“I think it’s important we look at the benefits to Derry and the county, economically and socially and, above all, culturally. With regards to the dissension within the County Board, or whatever the differences are, I am confident it will be resolved and we will have the All Ireland Fleadh in Derry in 2013. We will have the best of muscians and singers and dancers here, conducting workshops and holding concerts, and it will be fabulous to have world class talent on our doorstep and for all of us to have the opportunity to enjoy.”

She added: “Comhaltas is about the preservation of Irish traditional song and dance and our language and it will be fantastic to have the All Ireland Fleadh in Derry in 2013.”

A meeting has been re-scheduled for January 18th - giving supporters of the bid two weeks to galvanise support at county board level. The chairperson of the city branch of Comhaltas, Eibhlín Ní Dhochartaigh, said despite the controversy, she remains hopeful that Derry can still host the fleadh.