Northern Ireland news

Boxer Conlan helps launch Féile An Phobail programme

Boxer Michael Conlan as the Feile for 2019 is launched at Conway Mill in west Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell

BOXING star Michael Conlan has helped launch one of Ireland's biggest community arts festivals.

The west Belfast double Olympian will fight at Falls Park as part of Féile An Phobail.

The summer festival will run from August 1 to 11 and include music, comedy, talks, tours, theatre and debate.

Conlan helped launch the programme of events along with Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane at Conway Mill.

It includes performances from Phil Coulter at Clonard Monastery, Boyzone at Falls Park.

"For more than 30 years, organisers of Féile an Phobail have worked tirelessly to create a diverse, open and inclusive festival which celebrates the richness and diversity of Belfast's culture and communities," Mr Finucane said.

At yesterday's launch, the Ballymurphy Massacre families were presented with the Spirit of Féile award.

Briege Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was among those killed in August 1971, accepted the award.

"It's a great acknowledgement of the strength, determination and spirit of our families to get truth and justice for our loved ones," she said.

"Many people have congratulated us for our dignity, resilience and courage in taking on the British establishment and holding them to account.

"We have refused to have anything other than an acknowledgement of truth, accountability and justice for what happened to our loved ones."

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