Rebecca Black (PA)
A Belfast councillor has expressed disappointment after the city failed to make the short list to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023.
Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield were announced at the seven potential host cities.
While the 2022 winner Ukraine should be hosting the contest in 2023, the honour passed to the UK as runner-up due to the ongoing Russian invasion.
Belfast SDLP councillor Seamas De Faoite, who had been leading the charge in the Northern Irish capital for Eurovision, called on the winning city to honour Ukraine.
He also criticised the ongoing absence of a fully functioning Stormont Assembly as hampering a wide range of efforts, including Belfast’s Eurovision bid.
“While we are naturally disappointed that Belfast failed to be shortlisted as a host city for next year’s Eurovision, I am proud of the all the work that went into making this bid a reality, particularly the cross-party element which showed what we can achieve when we work together to make our city a better place for everyone who lives here,” he said.
“We were not successful on this occasion but Belfast remains a city capable of hosting large-scale events as we have proved repeatedly in the past, with everything from music festivals to award shows and conferences.
“Unfortunately our bid was hampered, like many things in the North, by the lack of functioning Executive to lead the way and lobby on our behalf.
“We are blessed with great people, we have the talent and vision, but if we are ever going to address the issues around a lack of space, our infrastructure and maximise the potential of our night-time economy to enable us to attract major events like Eurovision, then we need an Executive up and running to deliver on these issues.”
A crowd watch 2021 Eurovision Winners Kalush Orchestra perform at Glastonbury (Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire)