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£30,000 funding boost for Strabane St Patrick’s Day 2018 festivities.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

ST Patrick's Day festivities in Strabane is to receive a welcome boost to the tune of £30,000 for next year's event.

The decision, which was arrived at during yesterday's (Tuesday) Derry City and Strabane District Council's Business and Culture Committee meeting, sees the body move to assume the lead delivery role for the event in partnership with a new festival steering group.

The news has been welcomed by Strabane Sinn Féin councillor, Brian McMahon.

Cllr McMahon, a member of the committee which has recommended these proposals for adoption by full council, paid tribute to the immense civic contribution that has been made by members of the Strabane's St Patrick's Day Committee down through the years.

"From the outset, the success of the Strabane St Patrick's Day parade has been primarily due to the massive voluntary effort made by a small number of dedicated committee members who, despite working on a shoestring budget, made this into Strabane's biggest and most successful annual event year in, year out.

"As the main funding and delivery role of the event now moves to council, I would like to pay tribute to the immense contribution these committee members have made to the civic life of the town down through the years.

"Today's funding and partnership proposals are the culmination of many meetings and painstaking work undertaken between the St Patrick's Day committee, council officials, myself and other town local councillors.

"The objective of this process was to ensure that in taking the lead delivery role, council would not only maintain but build upon the 'grass routes' nature of the event from its inception but also ensure that it last accorded a level of funding that it merited.

"To this end, and in tandem with this substantial funding injection, a 'Festivals Steering Group' representing a partnership between council and stakeholders from the community, arts, language organisations and the local business community is being put in place to move forward with planning for the event in 2018.

He added that an ambitious outline programme of events has been provisionally proposed on the working theme of Craic, Ceol and Carnival.

"These include a colourful Mardi-Gras carnival procession through the town centre; an area of the town dedicated to showcasing the best in Irish traditions, language and folklore with a mini Gaeltacht experience; live music and street animation in and around Strabane town centre with a festival marquee at Canal Basin; a strong multi-cultural flavour with a celebration of global cultures within our local communities; and working in partnership along with the Strabane businesses BIDS group to explore the opportunity to develop a music and shopping trail as well as a full programme of shows and arts activities," he said.

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