Galway looks set to benefit from a multimillion-euro boost to the local economy next year following a move to make tourism funding available for the city’s St Patrick’s Day festival for the first time.
To date, Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day festival has been the only one in the country to receive financial backing from Fáilte Ireland, which provided a grant of around €1 million for this year’s annual festival. This is poised to change, however, following discussions between Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton and Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan.
The tourism authority’s funding for St Patrick’s Day festivities will no longer be confined to the capital and will be opened up to other locations around the country, including Galway.
The development of a multi-day festival in Galway is expected to attract a significant number of additional tourists, and would represent a major boost for the local economy outside of the peak tourism season.
“Those involved in tourism in the capital have stated that the St Patrick’s Day festival receives funding of around €1 million, attracts more than 100,000 tourists to Dublin, and is worth €50 million in revenue,” said Deputy Naughton.
“If Galway can succeed in emulating even a fraction of that success as a result of securing financial backing from Fáilte Ireland, this will represent a major boost to the local economy.“I am pleased that my discussions with Minister O’Donovan have resulted in a move away from the inequitable situation whereby funding for these festivals was monopolised by Dublin.
“It is a national celebration and it is entirely consistent with the Government’s stated priority of balanced regional development that funding for St Patrick’s Day festivals would be distributed more fairly,” she said.
Galway has an unparalleled reputation for festivals, and this is an exciting opportunity to start planning a new addition to our calendar of festival events. I have no doubt that it can be the best in the country and a major attraction for years to come,” said the Fine Gael TD.
This year’s St Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin took place over four days, and featured attractions such as street theatre, walking tours, literary, historical, music, and sporting events. In the Dáil last week, Minister O’Donovan confirmed to Deputy Naughton that he had asked Fáilte Ireland to re-examine its funding for the festival, and open this to other locations for the first time.