The Moy Valley branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann is to make a bid to have the All-Ireland Fleadh staged in Ballina in 2016.
At a meeting of the local Comhaltas in Ballina in the last week, the group unanimously passed a motion to make a bid for the 2016 All-Ireland Fleadh to coincide with the centenary of the Easter Rising. The event was last staged in Ballina in 1997 and 1998.
PRO for the local branch Eamonn Walsh has said that the 2016 Fleadh will be hotly contested by a number of other towns from the four provinces of Ireland but that a concerted effort would be made by Ballina to have their application to the forefront in any contest. “I have no doubt that Mayo business people worldwide will come on board should the All-Ireland Fleadh come to Mayo.
“The addition of the Jackie Clarke collection in Ballina is a positive boost to any 2016 application,” he said.
This year’s All-Ireland Fleadh will take place in Derry in August and the 2014 Fleadh in Sligo.
Ballina has already been described by Comhaltas officials as an ideal venue for the Fleadh and the 1997 and 1998 Fleadhanna proved to be two of the greatest events ever staged.
Any application must be lodged with the Mayo county board of Comhaltas by April 2014 and supported by a levy of €90,000 which must be raised from within the local business community. The cost of staging the event is now in the region of €500,000.
The Fleadh attracts 250,000 people over the 10 day event and generates in the region of €20 million to the local economy.
TV stations from around the globe cover the event and RTÉ 1 transmits six half-hour programmes generating valuable publicity for the county.
The local Comhaltas will hold a public meeting in Ballina in the coming weeks to address the proposal.
Councillor John O’Hara and member of the local Moy Valley Comhaltas is liaising with Mayo county manager Peter Hynes on the proposal. County councils play a major role in the running of the All-Ireland Fleadh and this was evident in Tullamore and Cavan. The Fleadh is a huge boost to a county.