Festivals Fund criticised by councillors

Council CEO, John Kelpie.
Council CEO, John Kelpie.

Councillors in Derry and Strabane have criticised Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Community Festivals Fund.

The Community Festivals Fund provides financial support to many of the city and district’s community festivals including the Earhart Festival in Galliagh and St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Strabane.

“The Community Festivals Fund is a worthwhile initiative but it is not getting the money it needs,” said Independent Gary Donnelly.

“We have Council spending money on an airport and £7,000 a year on newspapers but it can’t give the Community Festivals Fund the money it needs - it’s sending out the wrong message,” added Colr. Donnelly.

SDLP Colr. Brian Tierney asked council officers if there was a way they could improve the fund.

“The Earhart Festival received £1,000 from council this year - that’s not enough money to cover its costs - there must be a better way we can look at his,” said Colr. Tierney.

Council CEO, John Kelpie, said he appreciated the concerns but explained that this year’s Community Festivals Fund was oversubscribed.

“I understand where people are coming from but this council increased the amount of money in the Community Festivals Fund by 20 per cent this year - this year it was over-subcribed but we will continue to monitor it,” added Mr. Kelpie.