MORE THAN 430,000 people descended on Derry over the past eight days for the craic and ceol at the annual Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, making it the largest since the event began.
Organisers say the success of the week proves that Derry is capable of hosting major events. The city’s bid to host the festival was originally turned down due to security fears but the decision was reversed in early 2012.
“We were confident that Derry could deliver a good Fleadh but it is clear that we have delivered a great Fleadh. It has exceeded everyone’s expectations,” said chairperson Eibhlin Ní Dhochartaigh.
“Derry has done itself proud and I am so proud of the people of this city and the way they have embraced the Fleadh. All communities in the city have got behind this and shared in our celebrations, truly making it a Fleadh for everyone.”
Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin noted that Irish-speaking PSNI officers “attracted a lot of attention”, adding that it was a “great opportunity to brush up on their language skills and open up yet another channel of engagement”.
Over the course of the Fleadh, there were 51 arrests made, mostly for disorderly behaviour. There were 62 alcohol seizures and 69 reports to the council because of breaches to bye-laws.