Derry Council to manage process that could see up to 5 major events at Ebrington for 2024

Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee today gave their approval for Council to support The Executive Office (TEO) with a process that will allow for up to five major events to take place at Ebrington in 2024.

The matter was discussed at a Special meeting of the Committee held on Friday afternoon following a motion passed by Council in September for officers to meet with TEO officials to look at ways at how Council can help to support events at the site.

Head of Culture with the Council, Aeidin McCarter presenting the report to elected members said both Council and TEO recognised the need for a comprehensive and longer-term events management strategy for the site, but that will take time and require wider consultation with stakeholders, it was agreed that a short-term strategy was needed to facilitate events for 2024 and for that reason Council has agreed to support TEO with a process that will allow for up to five major events next year.

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Explaining how the new process will work, Aeidin McCarter said: “Council will manage the overall process, which will consist of a two staged application system. The first phase requires all applicants/promoters to demonstrate their experience in delivering events that require an entertainment licence, providing all relevant details of the event, including the dates and estimated audience numbers. The applicants must also meet the terms of conditions of the site and be able to confirm acts at least six months in advance.

“The first stage will be assessed initially to see how many applications are received – and should there be up to five applications that meet the criteria then all five will be accommodated, however should there be more than five applications or multiple submissions for a particular date or period, then stage two of the application process will ensue. This second phase will allow for the events to be ranked by score and event promoters then offered dates on basis of that ranked score. All applicants must complete both stages of the form and submit them at the same time to be considered as part of the process.”

Councillors at the meeting were advised that Council will administer and manage the process, working with TEO where required and that elected representatives will have oversight of the process.

It was emphasised at the meeting that responsibility for the management of these events on site will lie with TEO including responsibility for ensuring all documentation and conditions are met by the event promoters in parallel with the statutory licensing process managed by Council. Council meanwhile will provide a supporting role to TEO in terms of advice and guidance to ensure the events are delivered safely and effectively.

This process will not apply to events or bookings for the Council owned St Columb’s Park, and any enquiries or bookings for this venue will be dealt with by Council separately, subject to availability and the terms and conditions required.

Aeidin McCarter concluded that the Council understands that TEO are happy to consider other animation activity in Ebrington going forward. Council will continue work positively with them and are ‘pleased’ to support some large-scale animation programming including the “Rise – Ring of Fire” – three nights of spectacular fire and animation at Ebrington over the Halloween festivities from Saturday 28 to Monday 30 October, announced earlier today.

Joan O’Hara, Director of Urban Villages and Infrastructure at The Executive Office said: “The Executive Office is committed to Ebrington as a space for everyone: to enjoy events, to stay, to eat and drink, to work and to relax.

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“Working in close partnership with Council, we have agreed an interim process to allow large scale events on the Square in 2024. Use of this shared space beyond 2024 will be considered in the public consultation process over the coming months. This process will allow all stakeholders an opportunity to share their views. Existing site management arrangements will also need to be considered. We will continue to work closely with Council to take forward this area of work with urgency.”

Elected Members of the Committee also agreed to set up a Working Group to take this forward.

A copy of the paper presented to elected members of the committee, including the application form – are available here -

The meeting is available to view on the Council’s YouTube channel.