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Unionists want a city of culture for some but not all - Beattie

22 October, 2017 - by Ciarán Beattie

The refusal by unionists in Belfast City Council to support the provision of up-front costs for the 30th anniversary celebrations of the west Belfast community festival, Féile an Phobail, is yet another example of discrimination, Sinn Féin Belfast city councillor Ciaran Beattie has said.

Councillor Beattie was speaking following a council decision to reject a proposal to assist with Féile an Phobail’s 30th anniversary event next summer.

Councillor Beattie said:

“Féile an Phobail made a request to the Council to provide a proportion of the up-front costs of the Féile 30 celebrations in August 2018.

"There was no risk to the Council as the up-front costs would be recouped from ticket sales and paid back to the council and the Féile Committee had even committed to taking out insurance in case any events were cancelled.

"This was a very reasonable proposal which would ultimately cost the Council nothing.

"There would have been large numbers of visitors to the city for these events. Many hotel rooms would have been filled and the local economy would have benefited. 

“Despite these assurances, the proposal was rejected after it was opposed by unionist parties.

It is a petty and vindictive decision.

"This comes on the back of unionist attempts only weeks ago to have the annual Saint Patrick's Day concert in the city centre cancelled.

“This is what we have come to expect from many within political unionism.

"This decision will damage what is one of the biggest community festivals in Europe and comes with the council just one week away from submitting our bid to be the European Capital of Culture in 2023. 

"It is clear there are still those that want us to be a city of culture for some but not culture for all.

"This decision should be reversed immediately." 

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