Mahon hits out at support for festivals and Fermanagh

Published: 19 Jul 2012 13:000 comments

THE Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Thomas O'Reilly has angered Lady of the Lake organiser Joe Mahon by saying he didn't know anybody from the Erne East area of the county that attended the community festival.

Irvinestown hotelier Joe Mahon.

The Sinn Fein councillor, who didn't turn up to the launch of the event in Irvinestown on Friday night because he didn't get an invite, has been heavily criticised by Mr. Mahon.

"What he said really annoyed me - the festival has been going for 34 years and the programme suits everybody. He said he didn't know anybody from Erne East that attended the Lady of the Lake. I told him that Liam Connolly, from Lisnaskea, brings 20 lorries and supporters every year. I told him that people from all over Northern Ireland visited the festival. I didn't realise I had to invite him. After all the tourists we bring into Fermanagh you would have thought the chairman of the council would have been there," he stated.

Asked to clarify this comments yesterday, Mr. O'Reilly told us: "I said I didn't know anybody that went down to Lady of the Lake [from Erne East]. I said that to Joe and he got all tickled about it. But that's all I said. I think it's an absolutely brilliant festival and have been going to it for a few years. It is a wonderful festival and is so well organised and run by a small committee of dedicated people."

Asked why he thought people from Erne East weren't going to the festival, like he claims, he replied: "No idea" and added: "I don't know. It's up to people to go to wherever they want to go themselves... I don't know. For all I know, hundreds of people go from the Erne East area... I have no idea. All I said to Joe was, I didn't know anybody who went."

Mr. O'Reilly said he didn't attend the launch on Friday night in his role as chairman because he "had something else on". In a phone call later, he added: "I didn't get an invite".

But Mr. Mahon's issues don't end there. He says he is also annoyed that Tourism Minister Arlene Foster didn't attend the launch of the festival's annual charity truck convoy in Belfast.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA was unable to attend the event in May due to diary commitments.

"She was invited to the launch of the truck convoy. I was disappointed that she didn't come to the launch - the truck convoy is one of the biggest events in Europe and she's the Tourism Minister," he said.

As the Lady of the Lake Festival reaches its climax on Sunday, Mr. Mahon says he is thankful for the support he does get from public representatives. However, he believes more should be done to support the cross-community venture and indeed, other, smaller events in Fermanagh.

"We get a grant from the council for £1800 and Waterways Ireland give us £1000. But it costs us over £20,000 to run the festival. We gather the money up ourselves from sponsorship, advertising and from local traders. The festival is a big success locally, but if we got a few pounds towards running the festival you could make it an even bigger event.

"Fermanagh needs support too, not just Belfast. I think tourism is about people. Small community festivals are important and are needed to bring in tourism," he said.

Asked for her view that not enough is being done to promote Fermanagh, Arlene Foster MLA, said: "Just last week 20,000 people visited Enniskillen to attend the flagship Twelfth parade. In an historic first, I along with First Minister Peter Robinson, hosted the Republic of Ireland's minister responsible for tourism, Leo Varadkar. During his visit, he also had a chance to take in the breathtaking scenery of Fermanagh on board the NI 2012 branded MV Kestrel boat."

Mrs. Foster described this as "another excellent shop window for Fermanagh", adding: "It followed on from the wonderful event earlier this month when Enniskillen hosted Her Majesty The Queen, which was beamed across the world.

"NI2012 has supported a large number of events throughout Northern Ireland, including the Beckett Festival and the Clogher Valley Show, however festival scale events funding was devolved to local government during the last Assembly term," she said.

Jump to first paragraph.


comments powered by Disqus

Get more stories from our Roundup section

23 Apr 2014 22:30 • Editorial Department

In tomorrow's Impartial Reporter:

The phone call no mother wants as Ruby Brown tells of the moment she learned of the death of son Richard in a motorbike accident. Read her in-depth and moving interview.

Social: Comments0 comments

23 Apr 2014 21:30

Late Breen strike sends Town into final

Enniskillen Town Utd came from a goal down to book their place in the final of the Impartial Reporter Mulhern Cup with a 2-1 win over Kesh at Ferney Park tonight.


23 Apr 2014 15:35

Car stolen in "creeper burglary"

A car was stolen during a so-called “creeper burglary” at Raceview Court near the Cornagrade Road in Enniskillen.


23 Apr 2014 13:15

Castle Archdale hosts Dawn Chorus event

LOCAL people are invited to meet at Castle Archdale at 5am on Saturday, May 3, to listen to the birds welcome the new day in fine voice.


23 Apr 2014 11:30

Radio DJ includes Fermanagh stop in marathon challenge for charity

A radio DJ will bring her fundraising marathon challenge to Fermanagh this June in aid of Cancer Research UK.


23 Apr 2014 09:30

Arsonists responsible for 15 gorse fires since beginning of April

Arsonists are being blamed for starting around 15 gorse fires in the Garrison and Belcoo area since the beginning of April.


22 Apr 2014 17:00

Mallards slip into bottom two

Ballinamallard United slipped into the bottom two in the Danske Bank Premiership on goal difference following today's 2-2 draw with Dungannon Swifts at Ferney Park.


22 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Opinion - Kylie Noble - Why I’m excited to vote for the first time

The rites of passage of growing up vary from person to person but throughout my own life events such as turning 13, my first formal, my GCSE and A level results, my 18th birthday (and my first and to date only hangover that followed), getting into university and moving away from home are just a few which I imagine are pretty common landmarks among my generation.

Social: Comments0 comments

22 Apr 2014 15:00

Rucksacks stolen in car break-in

A car was broken into at Navar Forest near Derrygonnelly last night (Monday).


22 Apr 2014 13:00 • Rodney Edwards

Stormont Files: Farm Watch designed to prevent rural crime - O'Neill

FARMERS in Fermanagh are being encouraged by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) in Enniskillen to take part in the Farm Watch Scheme, an initiative endorsed by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill.


22 Apr 2014 12:00

Lisnaskea home attacked

A house in Lisnaskea has been attacked.


22 Apr 2014 11:00 • Rodney Edwards

Stormont Files: Litter droppers approach MLA to quash £75 fine

A NUMBER of people in Fermanagh have been fined £75 for “dropping a cigarette butt or a sweet paper” on the street, according to UUP MLA Tom Elliott.

Social: Comments0 comments

22 Apr 2014 09:00

Motorist knew insurance shown to police had been cancelled

A 47-year-old factory worker has admitted fraudulently using a certificate of car insurance by showing it to the police, knowing it had been cancelled.


21 Apr 2014 22:30

Man(20) took father's car without consent

A 20-year-old man thought he was being “sensible” when he got behind the wheel of a crashed car to drive it home.


21 Apr 2014 19:00

Jail sentence for driver caught without insurance four times in two weeks

A 30-year-old car dealer caught driving without insurance four times in two weeks despite paying out £3,500 in premiums has been given a jail sentence.


21 Apr 2014 17:30

Number out of work in Fermanagh fell by 2.4 per cent in March

Unemployment in Fermanagh fell by 2.4 per cent last month.


21 Apr 2014 15:00 • Meadhbh Monahan

Steering a safe path of expansion through the downturn

Liam Connolly Road Freight (LCRF) provides groupage services (i.e. from single pallet collections to full double-deck trailer collections) for over 300 customers throughout Ireland and the UK each day.

Social: Comments0 comments

21 Apr 2014 13:00 • Rodney Edwards

Irish President is latest to commend work of Enniskillen church leaders

THE work of Enniskillen’s two main church leaders, the Very Rev. Kenneth Hall and Monsignor Peter O’Reilly, has received a warm acknowledgement from yet another head of state.

Social: Comments0 comments

21 Apr 2014 09:00 • Editorial Department

Not against a community centre but not on ‘our doorstep’

“WE are not against a community centre, we just don’t want it on our doorstep.”

Social: Comments0 comments

20 Apr 2014 19:00

'We want to do it for the supporters' - Davy Black

Clogher Valley coach David Black has vowed to make up for their All Ireland Junior Cup Final defeat by winning the Ulster Towns’ Cup for their supporters when they take on Donaghadee at Ravenhill on Easter Monday.