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Maskey seeks answers from Culture Minister over snub to West Belfast Festival

17 June, 2007

Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Paul Maskey, a member of Stormont Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee has written to the Culture Minister Edwin Poots asking him to investigate why Feile an Phobail and other festival organisations have been ignored and snubbed regarding their participation in the DCAL funded Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington next month.

Mr Maskey said:

"The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure reported in 2006 that Féile an Phobail had immense attendances at their festival and that for 19 years Féile has provided a rich cultural input for all in Belfast and beyond.

"For Minister Poots et al to showcase culture and arts in the six county without consulting with Féile an Phobail or any other festivals is unusual.

"Minister Poots has said that he was 'extremely proud of the calibre and variety of people going to Washington to represent the six counties and show off our culture to an international audience'.

"Are Féile an Phobail or other community festivals not a part of our culture?

"I have also written to the Minister to clarify his position over how many West Belfast community groups received an invitation to this showcase in Washington and I await a priority response." Deireadh

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