Gregory Campbell immature and irrelevant says Derry festival organisers
The organisers of a Derry community festival labelled 'the Gasyard failure' by East Derry MP Gregory Campbell have described him as immature and irrelevant.
Mr. Campbell caused uproar on Tuesday evening when, writing on his Facebook page, he described the local event as a "failure" and appeared to poke fun at an exhibition of photos taken by the late Martin McGuinness.
Linda McKinney, Director of Gasyard Wall Féile said she was "disappointed but not surprised" at what Mr. Campbell had to say.
"Maybe sometime in the future, if Gregory reaches maturity and is relevant, he might get the chance to get another speakers payment from our festival.," she said.
"We are disappointed but not surprised that Gregory Campbell launched an attack on social media on this year’s Féile programme."
Ms. McKinney added: "This is the 25th year of Féile, Derry’s largest community arts and cultural festival. Féile has always been a platform for debate, discussion and celebration. In fact, Gregory Campbell has been given a platform to speak at previous festivals on issues including identity and nationality.
"If Gregory had have taken the time to read the full Féile 2017 programme, he would have learned that the festival features more than 60 events for all ages and backgrounds ranging in form from music, literature, sport, visual arts, fun days, health, discussions, lectures, community consultation and tours including several events in the Fountain as part of the New Gate Fringe Festival.
Mr. Campbell focused his comments on the decision taken by organisers to exhibit photos taken by the late Martin McGuinness and on the decision to invite former Labour MP, George Galloway to speak at the festival.
"Whether Gregory Campbell likes it or not, Martin McGuinness was a major figure in Irish and international politics, revered and respected by many in this city and beyond. We are honoured that Martin McGuinness’ family will curate this exhibition and we are sure that it will reflect the ideals of respect, tolerance and equality that Martin struggled for and lived by all his adult life.
"Whether Gregory Campbell likes it or not, George Galloway is a globally respected commentator, politician, author and film-maker who will discuss relevant issues including the continuing Middle East crisis, Brexit and the rise of the left."