I am absolutely thrilled that Ennis has been named as the 2016 host venue for the Fleadh Cheoil hÉireann. This event lasts 10 days and is expected to attract over 300,000 people to the town, including a substantial number of overseas visitors.
Estimates are that it will be worth up to €40 million for the local economy with 10,000 performers taking part.
This is a significant economic shot in the arm for Ennis and the surrounding areas and it builds on the considerable success of the Wild Atlantic Way, the Loop Head Peninsula and the re-emergence of Shannon Airport, to firmly establish tourism as one of the most important economic drivers in County Clare
I want to acknowledge the hard work everyone put in to securing the awarding of this event in Ennis, for the first time since 1977. This decision is an acknowledgement of the rich and longstanding music tradition here in County Clare.
We love our traditional music and I have no doubt that this event in 2016 will be celebrated in true Clare fashion, with a warm welcome, an open heart and the odd late night.
Huge credit is due to the local Working Group for their considerable efforts over many years to secure this prestigious event once more. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensuring a successful and memorable Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in 2016.
The Fleadh is coming home, roll on 2016.