Joy as Derry secures the winning Fleadh bid after weeks of uncertainty

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Derry is celebrating today with the news that it will host the All Ireland Fleadh in 2013, generating the biggest financial boost the city has seen in years.

Derry is celebrating today with the news that it will host the All Ireland Fleadh in 2013, generating the biggest financial boost the city has seen in years.

The ten day event will attract almost 300,000 visitors to the city and is expected to generate somewhere in the region of £33 million for the local economy.

The bid to bring the world’s biggest celebration of Irish music and culture to the city had run into controversy when some members of the Derry branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Èireann raised concerns that it would coincide with the city’s year as UK City of Culture.

In a further blow last week the Ulster Council of Comholtas withdrew its support for the bid because of the potential threat posed by dissidents following two bomb attacks in the city. Earlier this week however a massive public backlash forced the Ulster Council into a U turn and the bid progressed to the next level. Following a meeting of the Comhaltas Central Executive in Dublin yesterday it was announced that Derry had beaten off competition from Sligo to secure the internationally renowned Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann.

The news was greeted by cheering from the 30 strong North West delegation which had travelled to Dublin, including local Comhaltas members as well as local politicians including OFMDFM Junior Minister Martina Anderson, Foyle MP Mark Durkan and Foyle PSNI District Commander Stephen Martin.

Eibhlin Ní Dhochartaigh from Com holtas Dhoire said:

“We’re delighted. We put together a great campaign and can deliver a great Fleadh.”

Ms. Anderson described the news as ‘momentous,’ and praised everyone involved.

It will be the first time in its 60 year history that the fleadh has travelled north of the border and the North West will now begin to prepare for accommodating over 250,000 visitors who will come to the city to take part in the celebrations.

Derry’s Mayor Alderman Maurice Devenney also welcomed the news . The Mayor acknowledging the city’s teamwork and strong partnership in place to support the bid said:

“I would like to extend a special thanks and word of congratulations to everyone involved in putting the bid together. There was a strong city team and a tremendous partnership in place which helped secure this success.

“It is a tremendous coup for the city and we are all looking forward to working with the Fleadh Cheoil to ensure the event in Derry~Londonderry is a memorable occasion for everyone involved.”

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Derry’s Culture Company said:

“We should be very proud of such a magnificent team effort which delivered a huge win for the city. Every stakeholder in the city put their shoulder to the wheel, from government to the arts community to the public as a whole.

“This will be a massive boost for the city and for the City of Culture programme.”