30 June 2005 Edition

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Féile an Phobail - launched in sunshine and good humour

Gerry Adams was joined by Tyrone football captain Peter Canavan and acclaimed Stephen Rea

Gerry Adams was joined by Tyrone football captain Peter Canavan and acclaimed Stephen Rea

A festival of fun and frolics, politics and debate, sporting challenges and tournaments as well as music and comedy are what are in store for the thousands who will travel to West Belfast for the 18th Féile an Phobail.

At the launch in West Belfast on Tuesday 28 June, Sinn Féin President and MP for the area Gerry Adams was joined by Tyrone football captain Peter Canavan and acclaimed actor Stephen Rea.

Praising the efforts of Féile staff under its new director, Seán Paul O'Hare, Adams said that "once again Féile an Phobail has put together a magnificent programme of events that will appeal to all ages and events".

O'Hare, the recently appointed director of Féile praised the work of his predecessor Carol Jackson, before highlighting some of the headline grabbing events that are lined up for the ten-day extravaganza, which will run from Friday 29 July through to Sunday 7 August.

Emphasising the political spine that is the ethos of Féile, O'Hare drew attention to a number of events intended to raise awareness of the racism that has become more pronounced across the Six Counties recently.

He singled out the play Denial, which explores the motivation of the far right and the film Arek which is a 50-minute historical examination of the life of a young man who died survived Auschwitz.

Both are scheduled for Friday 5 August.

Among the many debates and political discussions St Louise's College will host the annual West Belfast Talks Back on Wednesday 3 August.

On Saturday 30 July, Sinn Féin Councillor Billy Leonard will explore his personal journey from his unionist upbringing, through his membership of the RUC and becoming an SDLP councillor until his recent decision to join Sinn Féin and his election onto Coleraine Borough Council, the first Sinn Féin councillor to be elected to that unionist dominated body.

The Féile's international aspect is also well catered for this year.

Two women, prominent in the politics of the Middle East, will address audiences on Monday and Tuesday night.

Palestinian activist Leila Khaled, who became a political icon of the Palestinian struggle in the 1970s, will talk on the peace process in Palestine. A member of the Palestine National Council, Khaled will appear at St Mary's College on the Falls Road on Tuesday 2 August at 8pm.

On Monday 1 August, Maryam Rajavi, the President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, will address the annual Frank Cahill Memorial Lecture in Conway Mill.

Organised by the West Belfast Economic Forum, Rajavi will discuss the latest developments in the Iranian resistance's efforts to overthrow the clerical regime in Tehran, where over 120,000 political prisoners have been executed since 1979.

As usual, some of Ireland's top musical acts will perform in venues across the West of the City.

The Hot House Flowers will headline at the Music at the Giants Foot venue as will Scottish artists The Proclaimers, Luka Bloom and Damien Dempsey, whose musical output reflects life in working-class Dublin and the social tensions that people there have to deal with.

All in all, this year's Féile has plenty to offer but as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so you'll have to come and see and judge for yourself.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1