Council pledges additional £50k for flagship Pride Festival

February 18, 2019

Newry Mourne and Down District Council has pledged an extra £50,000 of funding to support the planning and delivery of the UK and Ireland Pride Festival to be held in Newry this August.

The Council funding brings the total budget for the flagship event to £110,000. Newry were named as hosts for UK and Ireland Pride 2019 at an event in Glasgow in October. The bid was supported by Newry Rainbow Community, Newry BID and Newry, Mourne and Down Council. It will take place as part of the Pride in Newry Festival on Saturday 31 August 2019 – marking the first time the event has ever been held in Ireland.

In its submission to host the festival, the theme outlined for this year will focus on the denial of legal and social rights, which are enjoyed by those living in the rest of UK and Ireland. The Pride festival will also highlight the origins of the Pride protest movement, particularly around equal rights and the demand for equal marriage, sexual orientation and gender identity/ recognition strategies. 

Slieve Gullion councillor Pete Byrne welcomed the support of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism (ERT) committee for the extra £50k towards this year’s Pride in Newry festival.

Mr Byrne said he was delighted to propose the additional funding and said it will allow the Newry Rainbow Community to host “a world class event” this coming August. 

“We cannot underestimate the potential this event will have for Newry City and the entire district,” said the SDLP Councillor.

“We will be attracting visitors from all over the world and we must put our best foot forward.”

Councillor Byrne said he was still keen however to explore other sources of funding “to ensure the Newry Rainbow Community has what it needs to pull this off.” 

“Next month we will be hosting the European Pride Organisers Association as they bring their conference to Newry City. This will be an opportunity to showcase our city and we have planned for UK and Ireland Pride this August.”

Rory Rafferty, chairman of Newry Rainbow Community thanked Newry, Mourne and Down councillors for their continued support for the international event for Newry,  but he said the organisation still has some way to go to reach its funding target and are looking at ways to raise additional funds.  

“We do have a lot of money that we need to secure to put the event on and so it’s fantastic that we are another step along the way. It means that we are closer to being able to put the event on,” he said, adding that they are currently looking to the business community “to come on board with us, as they always have, and support the event moving forward.