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Sunday 19 November 2017

Dublin to lose chunk of Patrick's Day funds

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Regional events to mark St Patrick's Day are likely to get a chunk of the funding traditionally provided to Dublin, the Irish Independent has learned.

Fáilte Ireland has been tasked with carrying out a review of the €1m allocated by the Government to support festivities around March 17.

While any festival organiser can apply for a grant, in recent years the full amount has gone to Dublin - where the parade attracts over one million people.

Tourism Minister Patrick O'Donovan has now ordered Fáilte Ireland to assess whether funding should be dispersed throughout the country.

"I was not happy with a situation whereby only one location is funded," he said.

"That is not appropriate particularly in the context of commitments in the Programme for Government to balanced regional development.

"Whether St Patrick's Day festivals are being organised in Athlone, Cork, Limerick or the Leas-Cheann Comhairle's own constituency of Donegal, Fáilte Ireland has a role to support them."

In recent days, Fáilte Ireland has tendered for a body to carry out the independent review.

It notes that an estimated 112,000 foreign visitors came to Ireland for the St Patrick's Festival in 2015, generating export earnings of €73.2m. Of this €22.1m was spent outside of Dublin.

The tender says Fáilte Ireland wants "to examine the potential opportunities in relation to reviewing its funding for St Patrick's Day".

The aim is improve "the overall festival offering" and "maximising the tourism impact and return on investment". It is expected changes to the funding will be in place for next year.

Irish Independent

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