Derry’s bid to host the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in 2013 moved a step closer to fruition on Wednesday night when it received the support of the county board of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
Delegates at the meeting voted almost unanimously to back the bid. It was the second meeting to discuss the bid. The first, held two weeks ago, ended in deadlock when delegates from south Derry branches of Comhaltas objected to the plans because of the ‘UK’ title of the City of Culture celebrations.
Delegates from four branches opposed to the plans did not attend Wednesday night’s meeting and the motion to support the bid was carried by 13 votes to one. Eibhlín Ní Dhochartaigh, the chairperson of Comhaltas Dhoire, the city branch, said the support for the bid shows the strength of Derry’s application.
“Over the last 60 years Comhaltas has kept traditional music and culture alive in Ireland and across the world. The organisation has developed this world renowned festival, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, which is the biggest celebration of that culture.
“From the outset we have remained focused on Derry’s ability to host a fantastic Fleadh. We believe we can do that. We have the talent, the location, the facilities and the support to do it,” she said.
Mrs Ní Dhochartaigh said she hopes the bid will now receive the support of Comhlatas’ Ulster Council and Ard Comhairle.
“We are up against stiff competition from a number of other regions for the title but we believe that we have put together the best case possible for Derry,” she said.
Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson, who was at An Chultúrlann for the meeting; said: “I hope that the bid now successfully proceeds through the remaining stages of the ratification procedures and we can look forward to staging what will be a spectacular display of Irish culture in our City in 2013.
“I want to congratulate all of those who worked so hard to bring the bid to this juncture and wish them success in the final stages.”