The Moy Valley branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Éireann has voted overwhelmingly to seek the 2020 All-Ireland Fleadh. The decision, taken at its recent AGM in Ballina, is a plucky one in light of Galway City’s competing application to coincide with it being the European Capital of Culture that year.
Only one town from each of the four provinces of Ireland can secure the nomination, which must be lodged with Comhaltas HQ in Dublin by December 2018, with a guarantee of €90,000. The cost of staging the event is now over €1 million.
Plucky it might be, but Ballina’s bid is certainly no whim. The Ballina Town Fleadh collection has been in progress since 2015, with substantial sums already collected. There has been huge support from the Mayo Associations in Dublin, UK and the US, and a number of Mayo businesspeople in the UK have already pledged their support.
PRO Eamonn Walsh has said that Ballina deserves the chance to stage the event after a 20-year hiatus, having staged two successful fleadhanna in 1997 and 1998.
He pointed out that Ballina has been constantly seeking to hold the All-Ireland Fleadh since 1998, adding that Galway City ‘has a fleadh every weekend’. “It’s towns like Ballina, which is ravaged by unemployment and the closure of small businesses, that should be awarded the Fleadh,” he said.
The All-Ireland Fleadh attracts 250,000 people over a ten-day period and generates in the region of €40 million to the local economy.