Appeal after Ulster says no Derry branch to appeal Fleadh decision

FLEADH 2013 - WORK IN PROGRESS?. . . . Eibhlin Ni Dhochartaigh, seated centre, pictured yesterday afternoon at An  Culturlann, Great James Street, with her staff Siobhan Molloy, Ann Marie Gallagher and Carol Ni Eigeartaigh. 0601JM33
FLEADH 2013 - WORK IN PROGRESS?. . . . Eibhlin Ni Dhochartaigh, seated centre, pictured yesterday afternoon at An Culturlann, Great James Street, with her staff Siobhan Molloy, Ann Marie Gallagher and Carol Ni Eigeartaigh. 0601JM33

An appeal will be lodged this morning against the decision of the Ulster Council of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann not to back Derry’s bid to host the All-Ireland Fleadh in 2013.

The decision, which was made at a meeting in Omagh on Sunday, sparked anger in the city yesterday. The Ulster Council said the bid was turned down because of fears around security and came just days after two bombs exploded in the city on Thursday night.

This came despite the fact that senior members of Comhaltas received assurances on security from Derry’s police chief, Chief Inspector Chris Yates, and City Centre Manager, Jim Roddy.

A previous meeting of the Ulster Council voted unanimously in support of Derry’s bid.

However the local branch of Comhaltas have said they intend to appeal the decision on the grounds that they were asked not to attend Sunday’s meeting and that Ulster Council members who were at the meeting did not attend a previous briefing on security in Derry.

Eibhlín Ní Dochairtaigh, chairperson of Comhaltas Dhoire, last night called for an urgent meeting with top-level Comhaltas officials to rescue Derry’s bid. “We are appealing to the Ard Chomhairle to convene an urgent meeting of its standing committee, the Ulster Council officer board and members of the Derry city branch in order to resolve this issue and salvage the reputation of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann,” she said.

Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ the director general of Comhaltas, Labhrás Ó Murchú, said he was surprised by the decision but added that Derry’s bid is “still alive.”

“We have been inundated by emails from all over the world and every one of them is in support of Derry. Not one of them agrees with what happened on Sunday.

“We have had emails from members of the Protestant community, from members of the republican community, and from young people who play music,” he said.

He also explained that the current situation is unprecedented.