A screenshot from this morning's online meeting with Minister Catherine Martin.

Fleadh receives €100k funding boost from government

The Mullingar Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann committee has been given a funding boost as it continues its preparations for the largest traditional music event in the world.

The committee has been allocated a “one off exceptional payment” of €100,000 from the the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin.

Earlier today, the committee held an online meeting with Minister Martin, which was also attended by Minister of State Robert Troy and Minister of State Peter Burke.

Speaking a short time ago, Minister Troy welcomed the allocation.

“It's an acknowledgement of the difficulties of the last two years; they missed hosting and now it will not be as easy to get sponsorship as it would have been before the pandemic,” he said.

“It is extremely positive news. I met the fleadh committee before Christmas and they asked me to talk to Catherine Martin. I set up the meeting and we met today. It was extremely positive and it's great to see. This is going to be a huge event coming to Mullingar. Full credit to the committee who are putting in the time and effort to win it initially and now to organise it. It's brilliant.”

The news was also welcomed by Minister Burke. He said that it is important that the event receives government support.

“It was positive for Minister Martin to acknowledge the importance of the Fleadh Cheoil for both the county and the local economy of Mullingar, and the disappointment of the locals and committee over the last number of years with the cancellation of the festival.

“We were ready to welcome 500,000 visitors to Mullingar in 2020, but we will be ready again this year for the celebrations.

“Minister Martin was clear that the government will support the costs involved in hosting the fleadh and she committed €100,000 from her department, which the organisers were very happy to accept.

“As we get nearer the date, I am hopeful further funding will be made available by the government and that after a two-year absence, Fleadh Cheoil Mullingar 2022 'The Homecoming' will be fantastic event,” he said.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner earlier this week, the chairman of the organising committee for the fleadh, Joe Connaire, said that he has “no doubt” that this year's event will be the biggest ever.

It is estimated that the week long celebration of traditional Irish culture will be worth €50m to the local economy.