Sinn Fein refuse to support £10,000 funding increase for Foyle Cup

The Foyle Cup to receive extra money.
The Foyle Cup to receive extra money.

Sinn Fein have refused to support an increase of funding of £10,000 for this year's Foyle Cup tournament.

The party's five councillors on Derry City and Strabane District Council's health and community committee voted against the funding at Thursday's meeting in Strabane.

Sinn Fein councillor Eric McGinley said that while his party supported the Foyle Cup, the council had turned down funding requests from other organisations.

"Sinn Fein is a great supporter of the Foye Cup and it is important to say that the council has been a consistent supporter of the event," he said.

"Increased support from the Tourist Board is welcome, but I think all sponsors of the tournament should be asked to increase their support.

"We need to ask our officers to find other ways that we can support his event."

Foyle Cup organisers had asked for the extra £10,000 to cover the cost of travel and extra referees with an increased number of teams participating in this summer's tournament.

More than 380 will take part in this year's event, up from 344 last year.

A total of 18 teams from the USA are to take part in the Foyle Cup this year as well as a team from Africa for the first time.

Ulster Unionist Derek Hussey said he was concerned that as the tournament got bigger each year, the request for extra funding would recur each year as well.

But SDLP councillor Shauna Cusack said that it was worth the money.

"This event grows and grows and grows every year and it a great showcase for our city," she said.

"It is a fantastic tournament which encourages young people to get involved in sport.

"The council needs to find the money as this is a very worthy investment."

The request for the £10,000 is in addition to funding of £51,812 the council is giving to this year's Foyle Cup.

The tournament is also funded by Causeway Coast and Glens Council, which provides £10,200, Tourism NI, who increased its funding by £5,000 to £20,000 last year, the Executive Office (£15,000) and the Department for Communities (£16,000).

The extra £10,000 has not yet been budgeted for, and the money will need to come from budget underspends.

In agreeing to find the extra money, councillors also paid tribute to the work of tournament organiser Michael Hutton.

In a recorded vote, eight councillors supported the proposal to instruct council officials to find the £10,000 in the budget, with five against.