FINGAL'S efforts for The Gathering next year are to be backed by a grant of €75,000 as part of a €2 million nationwide fund for the festival announced by Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. The fund, a 50:50 partnership between IPB Insurance and The Gathering Ireland 2013 is in response to the rapidly growing number of gatherings being planned across the country for 2013. The fund will be administered by local authorities across the State to support events and gatherings that have the capacity to attract overseas visitors. Fingal County Council will receive up to a combined maximum fund allocation of €75,000 Speaking at the launch of the fund, the Taoiseach said: ' The core objective of The Gathering Ireland 2013 is to deliver an additional 325,000 tourists to Ireland in 2013 and this generous fund by IPB Insurance and the further provision of funds by the Government is a reflection of the importance of The Gathering as a key Government project that will directly contribute to the economic revival of our country.'
IPB Insurance has allocated €1 million of the fund to support local flagship events and activities in every city and county. The fund will be distributed across city and county councils and will range from €25,000 and €60,000 to support up to three flagship events in each council area subject to approval based on application criteria. In parallel, The Gathering Ireland 2013 has allocated a further €1 million to the fund to target other local and community events in each county. Grant amounts from €500 to €2,500 will be made available to these events following approval through a short application process. Ronan Foley, CEO of IPB Insurance said: 'As a 100% Irish owned mutual insurer whose remit it is to protect the interests of our local authority members and their communities we are absolutely convinced by the economic rationale and business opportunity afforded by the Gathering Ireland 2013 initiative. ' The Gathering Ireland 2013 will I believe, bring new momentum to the development of the global Irish network and deliver not only short term benefits next year but longer term rewards as relationships develop. 'Corporate Ireland must step forward and assume a leadership position and must do more for our country and our communities by contributing to the future of Irish society in which we all have a stake.' The target for the combined fund will be to support 700 or more individual Gathering Ireland events. Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said: ' There has been huge interest in organising Gatherings around the country. To date, between 6,000 and 7,000 people have attended more than 50 meetings in every single county, at which all sorts of Gathering ideas were proposed. ' Thanks to IPB, for the first time funding will now be available for certain local and community Gatherings. 'Even if you don't qualify for funding, I would still urge everyone to get involved, and get organising. Everyone can still organise a Gathering of their own, even if it's something as simple as inviting one or more people to visit Ireland next year.' The Gathering Ireland 2013 is Ireland's biggest ever tourism initiative, providing an opportunity for those with ancestral links or an affinity to Ireland to play a part in and benefit from the country's economic recovery.