At todays Newry, Mourne and Down Council meeting of the Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism details were given of the new Tourism Events Fund which opened for application in January.

Evaluation of applications have concluded and in it's first year the fund which offered financial assistance of up to £15K attracted 14 applicants with 8 of these successful and an award recommended.

Local events will soon find out if their applications for Tourism Events Funding was successful. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Local events will soon find out if their application for Tourism Events Funding was successful. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Successful applicants requested a total of £117,492 but the total offered will be £79,492, 70% of the amount asked for.

Awards recommended for the 8 events range from £1,900 to the maximum £15K awarded to two events.

Councillors didn't hear details of which applications were successful and which were not.

Commenting on the results Cllr Michael Carr said he would be "concerned that we award on the ability to fill out a form and not on the contribution that the festival would make to the district"

Cllr Mickey Ruane also proposed that the council should look towards going out for a second call.

The fund supported tourism events that would help Newry become one of the premier tourism destinations on the island of Ireland.

Criteria stated that the event should attract visitors that normally reside outside of the district, positively showcases the district on a regional or international scale as a unique tourism destination and have total visitor numbers greater than 1,000. Applicants also had to have at least £10,000 of funding to deliver the event before anyTourism Event Fund assistance.

The proposals were noted and will now go for ratification at the full council meeting in April with applicants contacted after that.

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