“This further signifies the positive effect the City of Culture title is generating in the region…”

Whilst Comhaltas dither, and differ, over whether to hold their All-Ireland Fleadh in Londonderry during the UK City of Culture year in 2013, the UK’s Big Lottery Fund Chair, Peter Ainsworth, was in the city today to announce a £1million small grants programme to “support communities across Northern Ireland that want to play a part in the City of Culture celebrations in 2013.”

From the UK’s Big Lottery Fund press release

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Culture Company 2013, said: “We warmly welcome the announcement of this significant investment in the North West by the Big Lottery Fund.

“This further signifies the positive effect the City of Culture title is generating in the region and the commitment of the Big Lottery Fund to continue to generate positive change within communities.

“Through this investment from the Big Lottery Fund and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, communities will be able to improve people’s lives and consolidate community activity in 2013 and beyond.”

“This major announcement is a tangible sign that the City of Culture process is already having a direct and positive impact on the city community.”

Timing, eh?

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  • iluvni

    another million wasted

  • changeisneeded

    and once again the british use money to divide the people so they can carry on as usual…

  • Rory Carr

    Timing indeed. I would imagine that any slender hope that there may have been that Comhaltas might choose Derry City as the venue for the 2013 Fleadh just went out the window with that announcement.

    How tacky, how very tacky. The bribery scene from Mel Brooks’ movie, The Producers, comes to mind.

    Not the way to woo and win the hearts and high minds of those who dedicate their time and energy to traditional Irish culture with no thought of reward other than the task itself. But then I don’t really suppose that the concept of doing the right thing for the right reason is a consideration much valued among the folk who consider that a lottery is an excellent way to fund societal needs.

  • cynic2

    “the british use money to divide the people”

    Surely you mean ‘cement British rule’ as part of an overall conspiracy controlled by the Lottery

    Its a shame Woolworths folded. They did a nice line in cheap foil helmets

  • cynic2

    “Not the way to woo and win the hearts and high minds of those who dedicate their time and energy to traditional Irish culture”

    They don’t have to apply. And why do you seem to see this as an exclusively Irish event? As others have pointed out Derry is both an Irish and a British city

  • changeisneeded

    Cynic your old tin foil hat line is wearing a bit thin.
    Must try harder.

  • DoppiaVu

    “and once again the british use money to divide the people so they can carry on as usual…”

    Indeed, and look what else these Big Lottery fund fascists are doing:


    Devious shower of b**tr*ds the lot of them, but they won’t fool the people of Ireland

  • changeisneeded

    This UK title and financial blackmail (jobs,jobs,jobs they shout) is diving further the people of a very divided city.

    Look at Britains history in this regard, this is how they play the game. Dirty.

  • Harry Flashman

    Sheesh, the English are oppressing us with all their damned free money, they’re such devious bastards I tell you, worse than Ming the Merciless they are.

    So much better in the old days when they were shooting us down in the streets, say what you like about the Paras but at least you knew where you stood with them.

    Is it me or is this thread turning into a parody of Derry whingeing?

  • changeisneeded

    And the dissidents support grows by the day…. 🙂

  • “Whilst Comhaltas dither, and differ,”

    Correct me if I’m wrong but it’s my understanding that the Comhaltas organisation is processing the Derry bid upwards through its county and provincial levels and the final decision will be taken by the national body later this year (October?). The politicking by various factions is making the process more difficult but it’s good to see some of the earlier stridency being toned down.

    This pre-announcement by the Big Lottery Fund IMO is probably intended to be helpful but is more than likely to add fuel to the local controversy:

    The Big Lottery Fund today announced a £1 million investment to support the first City of Culture celebrations in Derry~Londonderry next year.

    The largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding will launch a small grants programme later this year which will support communities across Northern Ireland that want to play a part in the City of Culture celebrations in 2013.

    Arts Council of Northern Ireland will also be contributing £100,000 Lottery funding to the programme which will fund projects that help develop people and communities, increase skills and activities and encourage talent. … BIG press release

    On the naming thingy Comhaltas restricts itself to the Derry/Doire brand and BIG as well as Westminster’s DCMS seem to have opted for the Derry~Londonderry composite. Oh, I almost forgot the Walled City and its support from the Tourist Board and the International Fund for Ireland. Now if the city could only come up with another name it could attract even more (public) money.

    This isn’t the only bit of ‘timing’. Just before leaving DSD office last year the SDLP’s Alex Attwood ‘gifted’ £137 million of taxpayer’s money to various projects:

    As well as a £10 million contribution to the Derry/Londonderry City of Culture efforts, the Minister has decided … DSD press release Thursday, 24 March 2011

    So the BIG ‘sweetener’ is not so big at all ..

  • “Not the way to woo and win the hearts and high minds of those who dedicate their time and energy to traditional Irish culture with no thought of reward other than the task itself. But then I don’t really suppose that the concept of doing the right thing for the right reason is a consideration much valued among the folk who consider that a lottery is an excellent way to fund societal needs.”

    Rory, I steer well clear of anything to do with the lottery myself. Comhaltas doesn’t:

    Dún Uladh Cultural Heritage Centre is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through National Lottery funding, Omagh District Council, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann and the Department of Art, Sports and Tourism.

  • “they’re such devious bastards I tell you”

    Surely, it’s much worse than that. The punters, including the Derry wans, hand over their money to the Lottery folks – and the Lottery folks give some of it back …

  • Rapunsell

    Conspiracy nonsense. The event last night in Derry was planned last year – I received my invite way before xmas 2011 .

    the £1 million is a small sum by lottery standards but the announcement made was bugger all to do with the dissidents or decisions on the fleadh etc.

    BIG NI committee made this decision last year and normally there wouldn’t be such a high profile launch for @£1 million and it wouldn’t involve the Uk committee.

    They were coming over anyway and a planned stakeholder event facilitated the announcement.

    Anyone think otherwsie could ask BIG for the relevant papers under an FOI

  • andnowwhat

    I would say thst it was the dissys who showrd the best timing. Just when it looked like things were coming Derry’s way, they plant a bomb.

    Odd that

  • Thanks for this additional information, Rapunsell.

  • DoppiaVu


    You’ll need to shout a bit louder if you want to get through to the conspiracy brigade. Those tin foil helmets tend to cover the ears too.

  • maggiedoot

    No matter what way you dress it up it is the UK city of vultures, i can give you 40 millions reasons why the shinners are crying into their pints! It is all about jobs for the boys, building empires S/f ( Bring on the Free Derry City Of Culture The Fleadh 2014 and keep the UK city of culture for 2013 for the shinners Brits paid by the Brits..

  • Dixie Elliott

    Irish Culture has been a nice little earner for Derry SF over the years. Having done the cuckoo thing on the local Conradh na Gaeilge they were able to move from two rooms in the Bogside to a £4m building in the town center….

    O Labhair An Teanga Gaeilge Liom…

  • ranger1640

    It’s interesting to view all this alleged peace loving, arms out reaching republican/nationalist community angst. At the Londonderry, UK City of culture year of events.

    Republicans, are always claiming to all in sundry, to be reaching out to their Protestant, Unionist, British, Loyalist neighbours. Claiming that its always those nasty PUBL, that are intransigent.

    Yet as a PUBL, I get the sense republicans/nationalists are starting to give the impression that they where sold a pup. And now its only dawning on them that it is the Londonderry, UK City of culture. Republicans/nationalists can deny all they want but the elephant in the room (or should that be on the walls), is that it is very much indeed the Londonderry, UK city of culture. You can’t but feel they are reverting to type with the Irish republican/nationalist maxim of “No Brit’s here”!

    Again we are seeing behind the Irish republican/nationalist mask, and we are getting the not so glorious HD and 3D view of the republican/nationalist nerve endings. With a smattering of their insecurity and paranoia. Hardly that confident and strong community show we are always given as republican/nationalist gospel.

    To use a football analogy. At what stage will the shinners fain a dive in the penalty box. And to save face they lift the ball as they walk off the pitch. Claiming the referee was a British agent and they didn’t want this Londonderry, UK city of culture thing in the first place.

  • changeisneeded

    hard times boys…….shes hard times

  • Dixie Elliott

    ranger1640 said….

    “a whole lot of Londonderrys and other stuff inbetween….”

    On a good day in July you could sing what you just wrote and it might just sound a lot better than a lot of that other cultural stuff you can’t hear for Lambeg drums…

  • cynic2

    Wahay!!! The Fleadh is back on again after yet another vote.

    This story now has all the richness of a plot from Somerville & Ross or a scene from Darby O’Gill and the little people.

    In their myopic manoeuvrings do they realise how ridiculous they look?

  • cynic2, someone has adopted the EU approach: Keep voting until you come up with the ‘correct’ result :L

    Derry Fleadh bid to go ahead after decision reversed:

    Director general of Comhaltas nationally, Labhras O Murchu said, “There was a meeting again with the same body who met last Saturday.

    “They reconsidered the decision which was made and we’re expecting an application to arrive today.”

    I wonder if Labhras will follow-up on his earlier suggestion that other traditional instruments such as the Lambeg drum could be included in the programme.

    Perhaps the PSNI should have held its tongue:

    The PSNI has also given its support for the bid and said the current security situation “should not prevent” the Fleadh in Derry.

    A statement said: “Such an event would no doubt be enjoyed by many, enhance the city’s image and bring a welcome boost to the local economy.

    “It is not for police to comment on the detail of the discussion, however, we can say that any security concerns that exist in Northern Ireland should not prevent the Fleadh taking place in Derry.”

    And now a somewhat belated (public) intervention on the same link:

    Peter Robinson said: “Whatever the justification for not supporting the local bid it cannot be justified on the grounds of security issues.

    “There is absolutely no reason to believe that this event would be attacked.”

    Martin McGuinness said: “If any of the organisers wish to meet with us in the coming days, so that we can demonstrate to them our commitment to this project and to help allay any concerns, security or otherwise they have, then we would be available for such a discussion.”

    I suppose it’s possible that Martina may have been chastised in private for her initial OTT intervention…

  • Skinner

    Am I missing something? Was the City of Culture title foisted upon the people of Derry or did they apply for it?

  • carnmoney.guy

    Feels like Sinn Fein have bullied the committee, what is wrong with the Fleadh saying
    You celebrate your British city of culture as you are now in charge and we will come to you when you win the European city of culture.
    Have Sinn Fein turned into Terry Wogan?
    Embracing Britishness with open arms as long as you can keep your diddly dee accent.
    I despise the dissidents and their murderous ways, but there are many who are uncomfortable with this cultural arm up the back

  • carnmoney.guy

    Funny how when you criticise Sinn Fein who have to set you’re stall out as anti-dissident in case that is the judgement against you

  • Dixie Elliott

    Just as you mention Terry Wogan and Sinn Fein in the same sentence…

    I was wondering, just wondering mind you. Sinn Fein’s answer to Terry Wogan was thinking a lot recently about meeting HM.

    Now could we see herself or maybe one of herself’s various family members visiting the City of Culture in 2013 to make sure that every thing’s still UK and meet with the likes of Marty, lopsidedly smiling, as he tends to do on such historic occasions?

    Marty might return the bit of Gaelic spoken in Dublin with a few words of upper class English…

  • “Marty might return the bit of Gaelic spoken in Dublin with a few words of upper class English…”

    Dixie, did you fail to spot Martin’s use of the Royal ‘we’ in the quote I posted further up at 9:19 am?

  • cynic2

    I loved the spokesman on Newsline last night saying it will go to Derry but, I think, that there wont be ‘any sort of UK stamp on it’ On my interpretation he seemed to go so far as to infer that it will be separate from the UK City of Culture events and just be happening in Derry at the same time – a sort of coincidence then!

    And what a beautifully myopic and so fundamentally political and sectarian position Comhaltas now seems to have taken.

    All this has exposed something very nasty about this organisation. Its not about the music or the security boys – its just anti-Brit and by definition anti the views of 55% of the NI population.

    Now Comhaltas has the right to take up whatever political stance it wants – but it should recognise that the true nature of the organisation will be judged by what it says. And that will also have an impact on the views of Unionist towards the culture it seeks to promote

    I enjoy Irish music and regard it as part of my heritage too, even though I am a Unionist. But when I see this sort of behaviour and attitude, I am forced to think that perhaps the question we should all be asking is, is Comhaltas fit to be invited?

    Do we really want our children and young people exposed to what appears to be simple political bigotry? Should we not shun any organisation – from whatever side – that promotes this approach and whose actions seek to drive people apart rather than bring them together? For balance, will Derry now invite the OO to relocate Orange Fest to Derry next year to inculcate the young people in their beliefs? Given recent behaviours I don’t see much difference.

  • “is Comhaltas fit to be invited?”

    cynic2, perhaps we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the usual suspects but rather give our various forms of cultural expression room to evolve, flourish and – not least – up their standards.

    What about this from Jim Burke, the president of Cavan Chamber of Commerce:

    “What the Fleadh Cheoil has done for Cavan on the national and international stage and the long term is nearly immeasurable,” he said.

    “The people of Cavan can organise and can hold such a large event with over 300,000 people in attendance and do that successfully where everyone has a good time.

    “The facilities are there, the bedrooms are there, the entertainment is there, and we welcome it with open arms.”

    And from the BBC’s Julian Fowler [same link]:

    The organisers in Cavan have been keen to embrace all musical traditions on the island of Ireland. Last year’s parade through the town was led by Cullybackey Pipe Band and included several lambeg drums.

    The City of Culture should be allowed to benefit from a fair wind in 2013.

  • cynic2


    I agree.

    I was, as we say in Cullybackey, “ripping the pi**’ out of the Ulster Board of Comhaltas which seems to have an unhealthy faction from the ourselves alone bigotry club that doesn’t want a Brit (or unionist) about them.

    But I do think my point was worth making. NI is infested by bigots on both sides. The rest of us shouldn’t give them house room

  • cynic2, they’re in the house, some might say they’re running the house!

    I’ve had to work with all sorts of folks and continue to do so and, though I still can wield the stiletto – rather than the sledge, I find that most folks like to be positive so I try to keep a path open for positive outcomes.

  • cynic2

    Stilettos are for wimps!!! Sledge is faster but messier

  • Neil
  • Good news, Neil. Do you think Derry can follow the Cavan example when it comes to ‘reaching out’? [see further up] This, for me, is appropriate reaching out as distinct from the spurious form sometimes articulated by politicians in the ‘culture wars’.

  • Neil

    I hope so Nev, could be a golden opportunity.

  • Alias

    “Members of the central executive of traditional Irish music body Comhaltas met in Dublin to decide the venue on Saturday.

    Sligo was also in the running to host the fleadh. Ennis had withdrawn its bid.

    The festival attracts up to 300,000 visitors and is worth about 40m euros to the host venue.” – BBC

    This ‘all-Ireland’ racket is a good earner for the UK economy. Instead of promoting the Irish economy, this organisation was led by self-defeating political considerations to transfer the economic benefits of the festival to British businesses and HM Treasury at the direct expense of the Irish economy.