At the announcement of a €150,000 investment for Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, secured by Minister Peter Burke were, from left, John Geoghegan, president of Mullingar Chamber of Commerce, Willie Penrose, vice-chairman and head of sponsorship with the Fleadh committee, Minister Burke, and Joe Connaire, chair of the Fleadh committee.

Burke secures €150,000 investment for Mullingar Fleadh

A funding boost of €150,000 has been announced for Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann by the Mullingar Minister of State Peter Burke.

“I’ve been working with the Fleadh Committee and stakeholders over the last two years, and have seen at first-hand the effort and the capital that is needed to support the Fleadh in the town,” said Minister Burke, explaining that he had secured this funding from the Local Government Fund within the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, in which he is a Minister.

Minister Burke said that the economic benefits that the Fleadh will bring to the Mullingar community are huge but balanced with this is the need for cash in order to run a properly-resourced and accessible festival.

“With the increase in the cost of materials and services over the last two years, it was clear further funding was needed and I approved a submission from the Fleadh via Westmeath County Council as Minister for Local Government.

“Within Local Government, we fund the 31 local authorities for various projects and needs. Westmeath County Council is a leading partner in the Fleadh, it was thankfully a good fit with this fund.

“The price of transport, wastewater and all infrastructure has gone up significantly over the last year and this funding will offset some of this increase, as well as allowing the committee add to the suite of services being provided to musicians and the general public.”

The funded was welcomed by Fleadh Chairman Joe Connaire: “Everyone knows at this stage the huge costs involved in bringing Fleah Cheoil na hEireann, the biggest musical festival of traditional Irish music and dance to Mullingar, the home of Comhaltas.

“We really appreciate, as a volunteer committee, the work and effort Peter has gone to to support us with funding and we really appreciate it.”

Welcoming the news also was Willie Penrose, who is the vice-chairman and head of sponsorship for the Fleadh: “I want to thank Minister Burke who has been very supportive of us since the very off, and has recently given us permission to use his office for the duration of the festival. He has been a tower of strength and support and we deeply appreciate this.”

Joking, Mr Penrose, a former Minister of State added that he was grateful that the funding was found for the Fleadh

“I was in the Department of Local Government ten years ago and that pot wasn’t there at the time I can assure you!”

Willie also thanked John Geoghegan and Mullingar Chamber, who have helped the committee with various issued that have arisen of the year.

Willie added: “We know there is going to be a bit of inconvenience for people over the coming weeks, we ask you to be patient and stick with us as we prepare for what will be a brilliant week for the people of Mullingar, Westmeath and the country”.

Minister Peter Burke concluded: “There is a great buzz around the town, the Council and the Committee have the place looking fantastic and there is a real festival feel. My office is being used by the Committee for the week and I have given my staff the week off to go out and enjoy this once-in-a-generation event for Mullingar. The preparations have been made for two years now and I know we are all looking forward for the festivities to begin”.