ST Patrick’s Day in Strabane looks set to be bigger and better than ever after the festival received a massive funding boost from Derry City and Strabane District Council.
Councillors at a Business and Culture Committee meeting on Tuesday afternoon heard than £30,000 has been allocated towards Strabane St Patrick’s Day festivities for 2018.
The annual event is one of the most successful festivals in the town’s history. Running for over a decade the festival attracts around 7,000 people every year including widespread Strabane diaspora.
Welcoming the news Independent councillor Paul Gallagher said, “This is a good day for Strabane.
“Last year there was a furious reaction after the council initially only awarded the festival £1,000,” explained Cllr Gallagher. “Following uproar from both politicians and the general public, this amount was changed to £10,000 despite Derry city receiving a massive £85,000.
“This £30,000 funding boost will not only enhance the festival but also ensure its sustainability.
“I have always been very vocal in my support for the festival and calling for more funding. The St Patrick’s Day festival is probably the biggest annual event in Strabane’s calendar. Every year thousands of people flock to the event and this funding will ensure we can deliver a bigger and better range of festivities.”
Sinn Féin Cllr Brian McMahon also welcomed the news. “From the outset, the success of the Strabane St Patrick’s Day Parade has been primarily due to the massive voluntary effort made by a small number of dedicated committee members who, despite working on a shoe-string budget, made this into Strabane’s biggest and most successful annual event year in, year out.
“I welcome the allocation of £30,000 towards Strabane St Patrick’s Day Festivities for 2018 and pay tribute to the immense civic contribution that has been made by members of the Strabane’s St Patrick’s Day Committee down through the years,” he added.
The ambitious outline programme of events provisionally proposed for the St Patrick’s Day festival includes; a colourful Mardi-Gras carnival procession through the town centre, an area of the town dedicated to showcasing the best in Irish traditions, language and folklore with a mini Gaeltacht experience, live music and street animation in and around Strabane town centre with a festival marquee at Canal Basin, a strong multi-cultural flavour with a celebration of global cultures within local communities and much more.