Fleadh decision due on Saturday

Traditional musicians
Image caption The fleadh would coincide with Londonderry's year as UK City of Culture

The venue for the 2013 All-Ireland Fleadh will be decided on Saturday in south County Dublin when the members of the 31-strong central executive of Comhaltas cast their vote.

There is a lot at stake for each of the venues in the running - Londonderry, Sligo and Ennis.

Namely, the economic pay-off.

The fleadh, which could be described as a Woodstock for traditional music, attracts up to 300,000 visitors and is worth 40 million euros to the host venue.

Comhaltas promotes traditional Irish music and culture around the world.

Sligo and Ennis are both strong contenders in their own right but Derry, which will be UK City of Culture 2013, is viewed as having a good chance of being selected to stage the event.

Derry is also set apart from the other potential host venues as the Fleadh has never been held north of the border in its 60-year history.

The city was a late confirmation on the shortlist after a u-turn earlier this week by the Ulster Council of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Éireann on its decision not to support Derry's bid.

The council had withdrawn its support for the Derry bid after two bombs exploded in the city last week.

The head of Comhaltas, Labhrás Ó Murchú, said he was "delighted" that the application from Derry had arrived and denied that the recent controversy could be to blame should the city not be successful.

"We have always looked forward to the opportunity where we could go and celebrate the diversity of cultures on the island," he said.

"So we are going to keep the fingers crossed and see what the outcome on Saturday might be."

"Interestingly enough the debate that took place gave a lot of light to a lot of subjects and it involved a lot of people right from the very top of political life in Northern Ireland, the police force, the community and business.

"I think it highlighted the importance of the Fleadh to the City of Culture and I think that might be good in itself."

The result is expected after 11:00 GMT.

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