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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 17 July, 2018
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Festival of World Cultures suspended over funding issues

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council ran up a loss €400,000 greater than expected – and could cancel next year’s festival.

Belly-dancing instructor Veronica Coughlan puts her students through their paces at Festival of World Cultures in 2004.
Belly-dancing instructor Veronica Coughlan puts her students through their paces at Festival of World Cultures in 2004.
Image: Haydn West/PA Archive

DÚN LAOGHAIRE’S popular Festival of World Cultures may have been held for the last time, with a county council committee recommending the suspension of the event after it ran up a far greater deficit in 2010 than the council had expected.

The popular festival, which attracts visitors in their hundreds of thousands every year, this year celebrated its tenth anniversary – but yet again was expected to leave what the Evening Herald describes as “a massive dent in the budget of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council”.

This year, however, the deficit run up by the festival was a full €400,000 greater than had been budgeted for – leading county councillors to set up a festival review group which has now recommended that the festival be suspended, amid concerns that the council simply cannot afford to foot the bill any more.

County manager Owen Keegan, in a letter to councillors, wrote that “developing a model for a sustainable festival, based on sound legal and economically efficient processes will take considerable time.”

While the event had previously been able to benefit from the experience of a core group of staff who had gained valuable experience on running the festival in its previous incarnations, “all the core staff have now left the employment of the council so a new team will have to be put in place if the festival is to continue,” Keegan wrote.

The review group is of the view that it will be very difficult to have a sustainable festival in place for 2011.

The Herald adds that the cancellation of the festival is one of a number of measures the council is being forced to consider as it expects its income for the coming year to be hit by almost €3m.

The drop in income comes as a result of the inevitable withdrawal of some central government funding, and a fall in the commercial rate income as local enterprises go out of business.

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Gavan Reilly

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