“we are a city of culture…”

More symptoms of that political psychosis in evidence in Londonderry. Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson has informed the BBC that, at a meeting of the Irish music organisation Comhaltas in the city on Wednesday night, members failed to agree on a bid to host the all-Ireland Fleadh in 2013.  From the BBC report

“It is deeply disappointing,” [Martina Anderson] said.

“My understanding is that County Derry branches are against it and the city branches are for it.”

The problem?  According to the report

Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson said some County Derry members are opposed to hosting the event in 2013 because of the title the UK City of Culture. [added link]

Well, they are only following the lead given by the Sinn Féin party leader on Derry City Council, Maeve McLaughlin, in 2010.

Ms McLaughlin said she believed the bid was “very heavily weighted in terms of cementing our relationship with London”. “While we are a city of culture there has to be a recognition that we’re not part of the UK.”

She’s wrong, of course, on both counts.  The clue, after all, is in the name…

Update  The Derry Journal has more details of the five hour Comhaltas meeting on Wednesday in Londonderry

The meeting ended in deadlock after objectors to the bid, mainly from Comhaltas branches from south Derry, refused to endorse it. The objectors said the fleadh should not be held in Derry during the UK City of Culture year in 2013.

The director general of Comhaltas, Labhrás Ó Murchú, an enthusisatic supporter of Derry’s bid, was also in the city for the meeting, along with other key members of the organisation’s national executive.

The meeting has now been rescheduled for January 18th – giving supporters of the bid just two weeks to galvanise support at county board level.

The chairperson of the city branch of Comhaltas, Eibhlín Ní Dhochartaigh, said that despite the controversy, she remains hopeful that Derry can still host the fleadh. “I am aware that there are issues of concern and we are trying to address those. As chair of the Derry branch putting in the bid we are still absolutely on track. We are working hard and we will do our best to deliver for Derry,” she said.

Adds  None of the objecting “south Derry” branches were “available for public comment” for this UTV report either, but they did find “a local GP, who’s strongly involved in the Irish cultural scene, [who] says she shares their objections”.