herald

Monday 18 December 2017

World Cultures Festival 'can avoid the chop if it's downsized'

A CALL has been made for the Dun Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures to be saved but on a smaller basis.

Council management has indicated that the popular festival is to be shelved amid massive losses.

However, the proposed cancellation is set to prompt significant opposition among.

Cllr Mary Mitchell O'Connor told the Herald that it got "too big and is costing too much" but she argues people will want it retained. "The festival needs to be made smaller and more family-orientated," she said.

According to the Fine Gael representative, the bill for security at the three-day festival reached a massive €400,000 as revellers took to drinking in the streets.

Hundreds of thousands more was splashed out on international acts.

The Herald revealed earlier this week how the council bosses are recommending the cancellation of next year's festivities because of the financial implications.

Despite attracting over 200,000 visitors to the region, the festival left a huge dent in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council's budget. This year it ran a deficit that was €400,000 more than expected at a time when basic services are being cut. Council chiefs set up a festival review group, chaired by former county manager Derek Brady, which has recommended its suspension.

A letter to councillors from county manager Owen Keegan said: "The group has advised me that developing a model for a sustainable festival, based on sound legal and economically efficient processes, will take considerable time."

However, Cllr Mitchell O'Connor wants a "new kind of festival" spread over several weekends.

"I believe that it would be much better for the county to have a number of smaller events where visitors and families can enjoy the ambience and heritage of our county over a number of weekends rather than one major bash once a year," she said.

kdoyle@herald.ie

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