Disappointment at €750 arts festival allocation for the Ballinamore Municipal District

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

Disappointment at €750 arts festival allocation for the Ballinamore Municipal District

Part of the fantastic colourful parade that marked the opening of the An Tóstal festival in Drumshanbo in previous years.

Ballinamore Municipal District councillors have expressed their disappointment at the small allocation to the area under the Arts Festival Support Scheme 2019.
According to figures released at Monday's meeting, only €750 has been allocated to festivals in the Ballinamore area.
Just three groups applied for funding in the district and, after evaluation by an independent panel, Ballinamore Drama Festival was allocated €250; An Tostal was given €200 and the Co Leitrim Percy French Festival was allocated €300.
Outlining the allocations, Leitrim County Council head of finance, Vincent Dwyer, said that these groups could apply for funding under the upcoming tourism scheme adding that the “arts element was not huge across all (three) of these applicants”.
He said there was €9,000 available to groups across the county as part of the Arts Festival Support Scheme 2019.
Breaking down the figures across the municipal districts it emerged that €5,200 was allocated to Carrick-on-Shannon and €3,250 for Manorhamilton under the scheme.
The biggest recipient of funding was the Carrick Water Music Festival which was allocated approximately €5,000.
Councillors expressed their disappointment at the “very small” allocation for events in the Ballinamore area.
“Events like An Tostal are very strong on arts, why was the allocation so small?” asked Cllr Brendan Barry.
He was told that much of the arts activities carried out as part of An Tostal are 'self funded' and Mr Dwyer noted the tourism grants opening next month will probably be more suitable for festivals such as this.
Cllr O'Rourke highlighted the need for funding for the Co Leitrim Percy French Festival noting that next year, 2020, marks the centenary of the passing of Mr French.
“This funding is crucial to raising awareness of this festival and this anniversary,” he said.
Chairperson of the Ballinamore Municipal District, Cllr Caillian Ellis, said he felt Ballinamore's allocation was “very small when you consider the total funding of €9,000”.
Cllr O'Rourke also noted the large allocation to Carrick Water Music Festival adding “do they not have events that people have to pay for as a way of funding themselves?”.
“The point I am making is that (Carrick Water Music Festival) can avail of income apart from this scheme. Many of these festivals in this (Ballinamore MD) area don't have that kind of income. They bring a lot of people into these areas and are very important to the community,” he said.
Councillors voted to accept the allocations but asked that their concerns over the disparity in the distribution of the funding be highlighted.