Irish Republican News · March 10, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Belfast Patrick's Day carnival
Belfast Patrick's Day carnival

Support is being urged for the Belfast's St Patrick's Day carnival after a major source of funding has been cut off by the North's Government-funded events body.

This is the second blow for the March 17 carnival after a special meeting of Belfast City Council last Friday also gave a final ``no'' to a request for funding.

Irene Sherry, chairwoman of the Belfast carnival committee, said the decision was politically motivated and that the company had abandoned its independence and neutrality.

She also called for the body's assets to be frozen until the decision was investigated. The Northern ireland Events Committee claimed the funding application was received too late to be considered.

``This year's application was submitted four weeks earlier than a similar application last year, which did get funding,'' she said.

``I believe that this was a politically motivated decision and I would say the Events Company have abandoned their independence - instead, taking their decision from the extreme unionism of Belfast City Council.

``There is also a sense of disbelief that a venture of this enormity, bearing in mind they funded it last year, would not be funded this time when it is 10 times bigger.

``This is a blatant act of discrimination to bankrupt the committee and drive the event off the streets of Belfast.''

Ms Sherry said that without the #26,500, the carnival was again in crisis.

A special meeting of Belfast City Council on Friday, called by Sinn Féin, saw no change to an earlier decision to refuse funding.

During the emergency meeting, unionists only made bigoted remarks about nationalists, including the claim that nationalists did not pay rates.

Unionists and the Alliance Party insisted that the carnival would not be inclusive of both sides of the community because Irish tricolour flags would be waved.

COTHROM AGUS GAELACH - IRISH AND EQUAL

The following appeal is from the St Patrick's Day Carnival Committee:

The Belfast St Patrick's Carnival Committee endeavour, on an annual basis, to provide an all inclusive carnival-filled day that captures the sense of pride, fun and all that feels good about being Irish, as expressed by millions of fun-loving people throughout the world. At the same time this gives the city a chance to showcase its attractions to the thousands of people who will come out for the event.

This year's bill is first class but The St Patrick's Carnival Committee need to raise #65,000 to give the city a great day out which will be on par with any of the events being held to celebrate St Patrick's Day across the world.

A campaign has been launched to save this years St Patrick's Day celebrations after Belfast City Council refused to fund the event once again.

It is time that the Unionists on Belfast City Council who have opposed funding an outdoor St Patrick's Day event woke up to the fact that it must respect the cultural traditions and identity of all the people of this city and on an equal basis.

We are asking our friends in Belfast, Ireland and throughout the world to petition Belfast City Council to join in on the fun.

We have continuously tried and failed to get Belfast City Council to financially back an outdoor event in Belfast that captures the sense of pride, fun and all that feels good about being Irish, as expressed by millions of fun-loving people throughout the world.

The St Patrick's Carnival Committee welcome any donations to help Belfast celebrate St Patrick's Day on power with the rest of the world.

You can donate using Paypal at the website http://www.stpatricksdaybelfast.com/

© 2004 Irish Republican News