Derry is back in the running to host the All-Ireland Fleadh after a provincial governing body reversed its decision not to support the city’s bid.The Ulster Council of Comhaltas caused widespread anger in the city when it did not put the city forward as a contender to stage the music and cultural festival.
Concern about the threat of dissident republican violence in the city was a factor in the original decision.
But following criticism from across the political spectrum - First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness both expressed their disappointment - senior officers from the Ulster Council have now changed their stance after an appeal by the Derry organisers.
The final decision on which city will host the 2013 event will take place in Dublin at the weekend.
If Derry is selected it will be the first occasion the Fleadh has been held north of the border.
Foyle Assembly Member Mark H Durkan welcomed the reversal.
“I welcome this conversion by the Ulster Council and that they have seen sense,” he said. “Over the past couple of days there has been a lot of anger, more disappointment, over the original decision not to back the bid.
“It has created great public interest in the issue with people talking to me about it who I would have thought wouldn’t have known much about the Fleadh before.
“I think that shows that if the city is ultimately chosen, the organisers will have a great opportunity to highlight the event to many people who may not have experienced it before.”
All parties on Derry City Council met yesterday (Tuesday) to call for the initial decision to be reversed.