New petition calls for fresh bid to host All-Ireland Fleadh in Derry

A new petition calling for a fresh bid to try to secure the return of the All-Ireland Fleadh to Derry has been set up.

Steve Bradley, who set up the petition, has raised concerns that since Derry hosted the fleadh during the City of Culture year in 2013 the usual format of the same location hosting twice has not happened.

Regeneration consultant Mr Bradley said: “For many people locally, the All-Ireland Fleadh was the standout event in Derry’s 2013 City of Culture year. The organisers of the 2013 Fleadh, Comhaltas Céoltoirí Éireann (CCE), were very cautious before the event - as it was the first time that it was held either north of the border or in a city. As a result – whilst it was normal for host locations to be awarded the Fleadh for two years in a row, Derry only got it as a one-off.

“Sligo, Ennis, Drogheda and now Mullingar have all had the chance to hold the Fleadh twice since then, with Wexford and Belfast now also bidding to hold it in future years.”

Some of those who packed into Waterloo Street during Fleadh Cheoil back in 2013. INLS3413-189KM

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The new petition calls on the Council to bring together all appropriate stakeholders to launch a successful bid for Derry to host the All-Ireland Fleadh again at the earliest opportunity.

He said: “The 2013 Fleadh in Derry was a huge success - with over 430,000 people attending, and crowds at many competitions and events significantly above usual levels. It was also notably the first time that the unionist musical tradition on this island was included in a Fleadh - an innovation that organisers Comhaltas continued.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to locally has great memories of the event from 2013 and is very keen to see it return here. That’s why I’ve launched a petition to show the support that exists locally for the event, and to force the Council and our elected representatives to make bringing it back to Derry a priority.”

The possibility of submitting a new bid has been discussed several times by Derry City & Strabane District Councillors during meetings.

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People enjoy the traditional music on Shipquay Street at the Fleadh back in 2013. (DER3313PG062)

Responding to the new petition, Pádraig Ó Flannagáin from Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann said he had “no knowledge of any impending application for the hosting of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann from Derry”.

“The 2013 Fleadh Cheoil was hosted in Derry and it was a great success. Any application that may be submitted from Derry in the future will be considered in the normal way by the Árdchomhairle of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Éireann,” he added.

The petition has been set up at: chng.it/vx9nLVMD74

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Steve Bradley.