Leeds Irish Festival cancelled after funding concerns

Leeds Irish Festival cancelled after funding concerns

ORGANISERS of the Leeds Irish Festival have cancelled the annual music, dance and sports event due to Council funding cuts.

Festival committee chairman Patrick Hennigan said plans for this summer’s free family fun day will not now go ahead.

“Sadly the Leeds Irish Festival is being cancelled this year due to Leeds City Council not supporting our latest funding application,” Mr Hennigan said, claiming the event’s arts grant funding has been axed.

He added that the committee were disappointed at having to cancel the festival, which has taken place in the city since 1997 at the John Charles Centre for Sport.

Mr Hennigan thanked festival-goers for their support over the years.

“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,” he said.

But Leeds Council said full details of this year’s grant allocations wouldn’t be made public until after a council meeting on February 25.

Details of the annual budget and a report detailing the changes to grant allocation for the city’s arts organisations are due to be published then.

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.

"The council has proposed to continue funding through its arts grant scheme other Irish events and organisations in Leeds.”