Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “It is vitally important that we maintain this festival, as it is one of the cornerstones of the local arts sector.
“Locally, the arts play a number of very important roles by enriching our society, educating and changing people’s perspectives and also helping strengthen the local economy. This festival encourages a large number of visitors therefore boosting local pubs, restaurants and hotels.
“The amount of money needed to save this festival is very small in the grand scheme of things. There is no excuse for the government not to dig deep and save this national treasure.”
Alliance Spokesperson Cllr Tom Campbell added: “I have written to the Minister concerned to ask that this festival be to safeguard its future.
“The Minister has stated that she does not want to see the festival disappear. Now she must act on her words and ensure that DCAL provides the necessary funding in order to save the festival.
Cllr Tom Campbell concluded: “This festival was a beacon of light in the dark days of violence in Northern Ireland. We must ensure that this beacon can burn even brighten in the future.”