Nevin pointed at a rare tree of relevance in the comment zone yesterday. It’s the full statement from the former Sinn Féin “Director of Unionist Engagement“, now “Sinn Féin Junior Minister”, Martina Anderson, on the reluctance of some within Comhaltas to host the all-Ireland Fleadh in Londonderry during the UK City of Culture year. [That would be the Northern Ireland Executive Junior Minister? – Ed] Quite. It’s now being covered, 4 days after being issued, by the Derry Journal. How other media outlets missed it is another matter… From Martina Anderson’s statement
“The spurious reasons that those opposed to the bid are using to derail the bid are so ludicrous that it beggars belief. Their only objection seems to be the U.K. prefix to the working title of the series of events that will encompass the ‘City of Culture’ yearlong festival in 2013. While I can understand and empathise with the sentiments of those who object to this prefix, I do not understand, nor do I agree that we should therefore surrender the opportunity to showcase the fact that Derry is historically the epicentre of Irish Culture and history.
“Everyone who is proud of the Irishness of our City, while at the same time respecting the cultural diversity within it, needs to cooperate to ensure that it is portrayed throughout the world as the City of Irish Cultural and historical significance that it is.
“If successful in their objections the small minority opposed to this bid will be self-defeating as without a strong Irish Cultural flavour to the events they will only succeed in allowing our historic Irish City to be portrayed throughout the world as a ‘City of U.K. Culture’ devoid of Irishness . The only way to neutralise the U.K. prefix – which I doubt if anyone outside of here will take any notice of – is to take ownership of the project by making sure that the events that will make an impact on the world stage are those reflecting the reality that this is an ‘Irish City of Culture’ regardless of working titles or tags.” [added emphasis]
[And it’s just as well it wasn’t a unionist politician wanting to “neutralise” the Irish element of the city… – Ed] Indeed.
The clue, again, is in the name…