Féile organisers say no public funding used for Wolfe Tones concert

No public funding is received to pay for the Wolfe Tones concert at Féile an Phobail, organisers of the festival have confirmed.

It follows condemnation of scenes of young people taking part in pro-IRA chants at the concert in west Belfast over the weekend.

Organisers also distanced themselves from the unveiling of a mural.

DUP MLA Emma Little-Pengelly called for an urgent investigation around funding from public bodies for Feile an Phobail.

In a statement on Tuesday, Féile director Kevin Gamble said: "Féile an Phobail includes all opinions and provides a platform for many different views, free from censorship of panellists, artists or performers.

"The Wolfe Tones are one of Ireland’s most famous musical bands, and have played to sold out audiences right across Ireland, Britain, the USA, and indeed the world for the past 58 years.

"They are popular with Irish people and the Irish diaspora across the world. No public funding is received from any funders to pay for The Wolfe Tones concert."

Mr Gamble added that the unveiling of a mural depicting a burning police vehicle over the weekend "was not organised by the Féile".

One of the funders of Feile, Tourism NI, said it is investigating the matter.

"Tourism NI is aware of social media coverage of events that took place as part of Feile an Phobail over the weekend and will be investigating this matter," a spokesperson said.

"Tourism NI's events funding offers are made on the basis of due regard for good relations.

"Our funding agreement clearly stipulates the responsibility of the event organiser to promote good relations and uphold Tourism NI's reputation as a public body and a failure to do so may result in Tourism NI withdrawing all or part of our funding."

A spokesperson for Translink said they support a range of events including Ulster in Bloom, Belfast Marathon, East Side Arts, Belfast Mela, IFA and GAA.

"As part of Translink's support of Feile An Phobail we sponsored the recent Teddy Bears Picnic family event and hosted Music on Metro and Gigs on Glider activity, promoting wider use of public transport as a sustainable and cost-effective travel option," they said.

"We will be seeking a meeting with the organisers to review this situation."

Mr Gamble said this year was the biggest yet, with around 100,000 people attending more than 350 events.

He pointed out that representatives from all communities were welcomed to various events, and said that no major internment bonfires took place in Belfast due to a dance music night put on by Feile to divert young people.

"The benefit of the absence of these unwanted bonfires on August 8 is significant, as well as the positive images emanating from the festival events showcasing Belfast in a positive light.

"There is also the considerable benefit to the city's economy which the associated increase in visitor footfall and spending brings due to Feile," he said.

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