09 Dec 2021

Arts and Hospitality deserve proper Halloween 'thank you'

Cllr Shaun Harkin hails effort put in to make Derry Samhain a success but says funding shortfall for sectors must be properly addressed by Stormont Executive

Arts and Hospitality deserve proper Halloween 'thank you'

Cllr Shaun Harkin said that arts and hospitality workers "have had a very difficult time during the pandemic with little support in place or offered"

People Before Profit's Shaun Harkin thanked Derry's arts and hospitality workers for making last weekend's Halloween celebrations a success but insisted that the Executive give them a proper 'thank you'.

The return of a public Samhain event to the city brought the people back on to the street as the fireworks, ghouls, spooks and all-round excitement had folk already looking forward to next year's festival.

Cllr Harkin, who represents the Foyleside ward, said the success was due to the hard work put in by those employed in Derry's arts and hospitality sectors – both of whom have been financially hit by the Covid pandemic.

While those sectors are deserving of the gratitude being expressed by the city of Derry today, Cllr Harkin insists they should receive proper reward in the way of getting “its fair share of funding” from the Stormont Executive.

He said: “Halloween in Derry is something special. The return of large-scale Halloween events brought joy to people across the entire Derry and Strabane District and for visitors from near and far.

“We want to thank everyone who played a role in this success. We want to particularly thank our arts and hospitality workers.

“Workers in both of these sectors have had a very difficult time during the pandemic with little support in place or offered.

“Our arts and culture workers bring a tremendous amount of expertise, passion and imagination to a wide variety of events in the city centre and in our communities.

“This talent and community involvement has put Derry on the global Halloween map.

“Arts workers here are often expected to work on a shoestring budget.

“There is finally recognition at Stormont that the arts and culture sector in Derry and the North West doesn't receive it's fair share of funding.

“This massive imbalance that's been long identified by people here must now be properly addressed.

“Our hospitality workers are often the unsung heroes of Derry's Halloween and festival success.

“Workers in hospitality are demanding a new deal of better wages and conditions. Employers should heed trade union demands to end the underpay of young people by embracing equal pay for equal work.

“The Tories and Stormont Executive have already made it clear they can't be trusted to 'build back better' for the vast majority of people. This appears to apply to elites only.

“The only way we can genuinely 'level-up' is through collective organisation and by backing up demands with people power.”

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