A local Causeway Coast & Glens Councillor appeared to confirm that a popular Pipe Band contest would ‘once again’ be held in the seaside town of Portrush. Only for the organisers, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch (RSPBNI), to contradict this anouncement.
The DUPs Alderman John Finlay took to social media on Friday and wrote: ‘After some confusion, it has just been confirmed by the Pipe Band Association that once again the Pipe Band Contest will come to Portrush on Saturday the 1st of August 2020. It promises to be another great event, which will bring crowds to the town’.
HOWEVER the governing body that organises and runs these contests the RSPBNI, has seemingly confirmed that this is in fact NOT the case, seemingly referring to Mr Finlays Facebook post saying the ‘Portrush competition has not been confirmed’. The RSPBNI also said that they are ‘negotiating’ over funding with the local council.
According to one source in the Pipe Band community, following the premature announcement, people had started to make travel arrangments. The source, who didn’t want identified, told the Ballymoney Bubble:
“Loads of angry people messaging me tonight saying they now have to make cancellations and they could possibly loose deposits etc.”
This isn’t the first time that the event has been shrouded in controversy, with last years event almost not going ahead, only for it to be rescued at the last minute. The event is also currently listed as one of many cost cutting measures proposed by council to address their current debt issues, and will be discussed at a special meeting of council later this week.
If approved, the event could have the payment of good will/compensation removed that it received the two years previou, saving council an estimated £10,000 anually.
The Bubble have asked Mr Finlay for comment.
“i CONTACTED the director of LEISURE and DEVELOPMENT, richard baker, last week regards the event and he confirmed to me the event would go ahead on august 1st.
“over the weekend i was made aware that this may not be the case as the rspbni post otherwise, so i removed my original post as a precaution untill i was in a position to have this checked out.
“I have again spoke to Mr Baker today who has again confirmed that the pipe band contest is scheduled for august 1st.
“as of yet funding for the event has not been confirmed but i am HOPEFUL that this will be passed soon at council.
the contest is one of the best events of the year and actually brings the crowds into the centre of portrush, rather that serve theme elsewhere.”
Mr Baker has been contacted for comment.