Organisers cancel Leeds Irish Festival after funding woes

PIC: Simon Hulme

PIC: Simon Hulme

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The organisers of the Leeds Irish Festival have pulled the plug on this year’s event following a funding shortfall.

The committee claim Leeds City Council would not be renewing the festival arts grant funding which supports the annual event.

The festival, which offers a free family weekend at the John Charles Centre for Sport, has been running in the city since 1997.

Children and all participants in any activity were given a specially cast medal which differed every year and passed them down to their children over the years.

But the festival committee claim that despite attempts to secure funding they have had to cancel the festival because of the shortfall.

Chairman Patrick Hennigan told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Sadly the Leeds Irish Festival is being cancelled this year due to Leeds City Council not supporting our latest funding application.”

He said the committee had to make the “disappointing” decision because they could not find sufficient funding to support it.

But he wished to thank the festival’s supporters for their efforts in making the event a success in previous years.

He added: “To all our participants, supporters, artists, sponsors, John Charles Centre staff, attendees and the wider community I offer our thanks for the vibrancy and enjoyment of the festival weekends since 1997, for you all combined to make something so special, that being the Leeds Irish Festival.”

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said: “Due to the significant financial challenges which Leeds City Council continues to face, we have to make some extremely difficult decisions regarding all our future budgets, which include grants for arts organisations.

“The council has now contacted all art organisations in the city which applied to the arts@leeds grant scheme to inform them of what support we are proposing to provide for the next financial year.

“We would however like to stress that no final decisions will be made until after the council’s final budget is approved in February, at which point the full list of awards will be published.”

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