Charity Commission investigating Belfast Féile complaints and press reports

The scene during the Wolfe Tones concert at the end of the festival. Credit: UTV

The Charity Commission has said it is in talks with the organisers of Féile An Phobail in Belfast over issues reported in the press and complaints made to it.

The festival again saw pro-IRA chanting at its final night Wolfe Tones concert, which was widely condemned in the following days.

Organisers defended the concert saying the Wolfe Tones were hugely popular, and that the concert received no public funding.

The Charity Commission's move was first reported in the Belfast Telegraph.

In a statement it told UTV: “The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland can confirm that it is in touch with the charity trustees of Féile An Phobail Limited regarding the issues which have been raised.

“This discussion is ongoing and is in response to the matters which have been highlighted in the press and received by the regulator directly.

“The commission cannot speculate or comment on a case while it is ongoing. This is because the commission is a proportionate and fair regulator of Northern Ireland charities and, as such, would not wish to prejudice any current or potential investigation.”

Gary Murray, whose 13-year-old sister Leanne was killed in the Shankhill bomb, lodged a complaint with the commission.

He is being represented by JWB Consultancy which is run by Jamie Bryson.

In a statement, JWB Consultancy said a similar complaint was made in 2019 and that the commission at that time said it was "content" with responses received from Féile trustees, however it could take action in the future.

"We hope the commission will take robust and urgent steps to protect the integrity of the charity sector," JWB Consultancy said in a statement.

Feile organisers have been contacted for comment.

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