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Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has formally agreed to support the annual Lúnasa Festival with £25,000.

Councillors were presented with a report and gave the festival the green light at a Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism committee this week.

The council said that the event will go ahead as planned unless Covid-19 regulations prohibit festivals in the coming months.

Slieve Gullion. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Slieve Gullion. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

The budget for the event has been profiled from within the existing tourism budget (£20,000) and the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership (£5,000).

Organisers hope to ensure that there is something to do everyday, including guided walks, talks, craft workshops for adults and children and much more.

The Ring of Gullion Lúnasa Festival has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2015, working closely with a huge range of community groups and individuals to develop one of the region’s fastest growing grass-roots events.

The committee also agreed to establish a Service Level Agreement with the festival’s working group to ensure the smooth delivery of the event.

Sinn Fein’s Roisin Mulgrew said: “I think we will all be crossing our fingers that when we get to that stage of the year that we will be able to hold some of these events.

“This event has certainly put our area on the map and the officers have worked incredibly hard and I am more than happy to propose.”

Meanwhile, SDLP councillor Gary Stokes said he was ‘delighted to see the community moving that direction again’.

The Lúnasa Festival is due to take place, as things stand, in August 2021. The decision is subject to ratification at the July full Council meeting.

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