St Patrick’s festival rejects ‘soulless’claim by Dublin mayor

Festival chief executive says his comments reflect a lack of understanding

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn says the St Patrick day festival could be much bigger and “lacks ambition”. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn says the St Patrick day festival could be much bigger and “lacks ambition”. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times


St Patrick’s Day Festival organisers have defended their programme as the Lord Mayor of Dublin criticises the event as a “mini-Funderland” that lacks ambition.

Oisín Quinn said the festival suffered from a “lack of ambition” and missed opportunities.

“Really all we do is bring a mini version of Funderland to it. It has nothing to do with Ireland and Dublin. It misses a big opportunities,” he said.

Mr Quinn said he was against effectively closing down Merrion Square for four days for a funfair that was “soulless”.

“The funfair is simply to raise money,” he said.

“The purpose of the festival should not be to make money, it should be to showcase the best of the country.”

The Labour councillor said he favoured the festival to showcase the country’s culture, music and food.

“I believe we could do an awful lot more,” Mr Quinn said.

Mr Quinn said he also wanted to extend the festival to be much longer, similar to the Chinese New Year celebrations that runs for two weeks.

“I wasn’t approaching this in ‘ I don’t like your plan take my plan’. Just new ideas and suggestion to improve,” he said.

“There’s lots of more imaginative things we can do.”

“We have a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best of city and Ireland, and we’re not doing it.”

Festival chief executive Susan Kirby told RTÉ radio she was surprised to hear the words “soulless” and “lacking ambition” attached to the parade.

“He’s entitled to his opinion as is everybody,” she said.

Ms Kirby said the comments reflected a lack of understanding of the programme, which is not officially released until this Thursday.

“Funfairs are part of a number of major festivals,” she said.

She said there were many cultural activities planned in collaboration with more than 80 artists. “We appeal to everyone from 8- 80,” Ms Kirby said.

She said Merrion Square would not be closed but traffic would be diverted.

The St Patrick’s Day Festival runs from the 14th to 17th of March this year.


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