West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Derisory St Paddy's Day Parade funding offer being challenged-Mc Mahon

Published: 30 May, 2016

Strabane Sinn Féin Councillor Brian Mc Mahon says that the derisory grant of £1,000 from Derry City and Strabane District Council towards the town's annual St Patricks Day Parade has been vigorously challenged and work is continuing with Council officials in an effort to ensure that the Parade is accorded a level of funding which gives due recognition to the fact that the annual event is, by far, the biggest and most successful event in the festival calendar of Strabane.

Cllr Mc Mahon said,

"Upon being made aware of this derisory £1,000 offer by the St Patrick's Day Committee, I immediately lodged a complaint with senior officials of Council seeking this decision to be reviewed. Since then I, along with Cllrs Karina Carlin and Paul Gallagher have been engaged in meetings with and between the St Patrick Day Committee and Council officials and are working to ensure that the Parade is accorded a level of funding which it merits.

"The success of the Parade is a result of the massive voluntary effort by the Committee and participant groups and individuals from not only the town but increasingly from surrounding towns and villages from the wider Strabane area and from east Donegal. It now attracts more than 10,000 people annually and also provides a major boost to the town centre economy particularly our local pubs and food outlets.

"The irony of the situation is that If, due to lack of even a minimal level of funding, the Strabane St Partick's Day Parade was no longer viable on voluntary basis then the cost to Council would spiral as it would have to be run as an official Council organised event and would require a level of funding in line with what it required each year for the Derry St Patrick's Day Parade.

"So there has to be due recognition within Council that the voluntary nature of the Strabane St Patrick's Day Parade is actually saving rate-payers a lot of money and every effort must be made to ensure that in terms of "value for money' a fair allocation of funding and resources is made available each year to ensure that the voluntary nature of our Parade is not only maintained but built upon.

The Strabane St Patrick's Day Parade must be recognised as one of the 'new' Council District's key strategic cultural events of the year and it must be treated accordingly.