‘Disgrace’ that Cork can’t fund Fleadh as the 2020 events goes to Mullingar

‘Disgrace’ that Cork can’t fund Fleadh as the 2020 events goes to Mullingar

President Michael D Higgins on stage addressing the public at the opening day of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2018 in Louth. Picture: Robbie Reynolds

CORK city has again missed out on hosting Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann due to a lack of corporate sponsorship.

The 2020 event has been awarded to Mullingar despite a bid being lodged by the Douglas branch of Comhaltas.

The annual celebration has never been held in any part of Cork city or county.

City councillor Tim Brosnan (FF) said he does not believe there is an “appetite” from City Hall to get the event to Cork.

“It is, in my view, an absolute disgrace that a city of our size can not find the wherewithal to fund a Fleadh Cheoil.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity we’ve wasted and we can make all the excuses that we want but the council in Mullingar can get this over the line and we are not able to do it.

“The council here doesn’t have the appetite to do it and, in particular, in the years ahead there is thrust in events that commemorate fighting in the early part of the century but the main part of that movement was cultural,” he added.

Cllr Tom O’Driscoll (FF) added: “The bid never got going and was never really a serious bid. It would have needed the full support of the city council in order to succeed. The next council will be aware of the cost and funding associated with an event of this magnitude. It runs into millions of euro.

“This council would have to be prepared to fund it if it were to come to Cork. It has never been held in any part of Co Cork in the 80 years it has existed. That is remarkable. Hopefully, we will see it in the city at a future date. Hopefully, we can learn from the likes of Drogheda, Ennis and Mullingar by seeing how they have done it.”

According to Mick Nugent (SF), large peripheral towns could be used as the epicentre for the event if it were ever to be staged in Cork.

“In the years ahead, somewhere like Blarney square or Ballincollig’s main street or Glanmire might be areas where you could concentrate the event. We need to flag this to sponsors in the years ahead. There are major businesses and commercial entities that maybe we should be talking to.”

John Buttimer (FG) said the Fleadh Cheoil would be hugley beneficial to tourism in Cork.

“This week on RTÉ, they are showing Fleadh TV and the reach beyond the city is immeasurable. It just looks spectacular. It’s a magnificent showcase for the city. The city centre might not be the most appropriate location but with the expanded city, we have a fantastic opportunity.”

City Hall director of corporate and external affairs Paul Moynihan said hosting the event would cost City Hall a “seven-figure sum” unless corporate sponsors are on board.

“After four years of a proposal being put to Cork City Council, in the absence of any firm commitment for sponsorship support, it is clear if Cork city was to host Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Cork City Council would have to provide a substantial majority of the costs involved,” he added.

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