Two Mayors unite to “save local tourist events”

The outgoing and incoming Mayors of Causeway Coast and Glens Council have come together in what they have called “an effort to save local tourist events”.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 2:31 pm

The outgoing DUP Mayor Alderman Mark Fielding and the incoming UUP Mayor Cllr Richard Holmes issued a joint statement in which they said they had “come together in an effort to save local tourist events facing financial difficulties as a result of actions by Alliance, Sinn Fein, SDLP and Independent Councillors”.

The statement read: “Following a decision by councillors in March to create a Tourism Events Recovery Fund of £400k to help support our world class events, a call in ensured that no financial help could be given to the many groups in great need.

“Matters came to a head this week after an appeal by the Stendhal Festival organisers to councillors to fast track the legal opinion in relation to the call in. Attempts are being made to hear the legal opinion following Monday night’s AGM.”

Outgoing Mayor, Ald Mark Fielding said: “The tourism events fund was tweaked in the wake of Covid to help tide events over to another year such as the NW200 which can’t go ahead. It was also designed to support those events trying to go ahead such as Stendhal and Armoy Road Races. But the call in by Alliance, Sinn Fein, SDLP and Independents has put that in jeopardy.”

Incoming Mayor, Cllr Richard Holmes, described the call in as “one of the most reckless and damaging actions taken by Parties since the new council was established in 2015. Their actions have struck at the very heart of our tourism events sector and starves them of cash at a time when events like Stendhal are moving heaven and earth to keep the show on the road.

“Ald Mark Fielding and I have agreed to consider the legal opinion relating to the call in after Monday’s AGM in a bid to save world class events from ruin.

“We can only hope that common sense prevails and the needless attempts to block critical funding support are vetoed. If not we could see events such as the NW200, Supercup NI and Stendhal Festival lost forever.”