Eurovision 2023: Irish Eurovision winners support Belfast as Host City

Amidst the increasing interest by cities within UK to host the ESC, Northern Ireland’s local press reports that seven past winners from across the island of Ireland, together with three Belfast City Councillors, are putting forward a strong case for Northern Ireland’s capital city, Belfast.

As we have previously reported, the Eurovision 2023 host city will be decided upon by the BBC and the EBU, with the final decision expected in early Fall ahead of the May 2023 contest.

A number of UK cities have already submitted bids, but to date Belfast City Council has not yet had a formal meeting about a potential proposal.

The aspirant bid

Belfast City Council’s idleness regarding a possible proposal propelled past Eurovision winners to join forces in order to trigger interest about the event’s multiple benefits for the local economy.

In the same context, three Belfast City Councillors are exerting their efforts in preparing for a bid as a matter of urgency.

One of the Councillors, Mr. Seamas de Faoite, commented that Belfast “is the best city to host the Ukrainian victors”, because people in Belfast “understand the promise and importance of peace more than any other host”.

According to the local press, Belfast ticks all of the EBU’s boxes and more:

  • The SSE Arena can seat 11,000 with the iconic Titanic Exhibition Centre next door
  • Belfast has a minimum of 9,600 hotel rooms, twice the number the EBU believes would be needed
  • Belfast International Airport, Belfast City Airport, along with the proximity of Dublin Airport and even City of Derry Airport

The winners

Dana Brown 

Rosemary Dana Brown won Eurovision back in 1970 when she was only 18 years old. She said about the prospect of Belfast hosting the Contest:

People in Northern Ireland have experienced the devastation of years of unrest and have successfully come through it. We understand and empathise with so much of the pain suffered by Ukraine’s people.

And like them, the people of Northern Ireland are steeped in music, culture, the arts, creativity and in particular, Eurovision success. An all-inclusive Northern Ireland bid for Eurovision 2023 should be held in the capital city Belfast, I believe it’s the very best place to represent the people of Ukraine.

Linda Martin is from Belfast, Niamh Cavanagh is now living near Belfast, myself and Johnny Logan’s father are from Derry Londonderry so that adds up to five Eurovision wins. Add Phil Coulter, the composer of UK’s first ever Eurovision win, Puppet on a String.

Belfast also has the full support of Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan who won Eurovision with “Rock and Roll Kids” so that takes us to seven winners.

Is it not fitting that Belfast could be the Eurovision host for Ukraine? We have the huge capacity SSE venue right next door to the globally recognised Titanic centre. We have very talented people at BBC NI and TV production companies as well as excellent logistics to facilitate.

Northern Ireland and Belfast can do justice to the people of Ukraine in hosting Eurovision 2023, not only because of our logistical abilities but because of our big-hearted and community-driven people.

Johnny Logan

Johnny Logan is the only performer to win the Eurovision Song Contest twice, first in 1980 with ‘What’s Another Year’, written by Shay Healy and then in 1987 with ‘Hold Me Now’ which he composed and performed himself. Johnny said:

Belfast should host Ukraine for Eurovision 2023 – and why not Belfast? Northern Ireland has produced so many great musicians and singers, my father Patrick O’Hagan among them, and hosting Eurovision 2023 would be a wonderful opportunity to highlight the positive side of the north of Ireland and its people.

So yes, I fully support the Belfast bid, it’s a great musical city with great people and I believe it can deliver.

Linda Martin 

Linda performed at the Eurovision Song Contest contest twice and won in 1992 with “Why Me?”. She said:

Belfast is perfect for Eurovision 2023. It’s a beautiful city with an 11,000 seater arena, thousands of hotel rooms and two airports, one of them right beside the world renowned Titanic experience.

Niamh Kavanagh 

Niamh won the competition in 1993 with the song “In your Eyes”. Niamh said:

Belfast would be an amazing choice to host the Eurovision on behalf of the Ukraine, it’s a thriving city with a great heart that understands surviving conflict.

Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan

They won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994, with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids”. Paul said:

I think it’s a brilliant idea. I lived and worked in Belfast for some years and it’s a sparkling place and the people are creative and talented. Music can unite and triumph. So yes, I fully support Belfast for Eurovision 2023.

Brendan Graham

Brendan is the writer of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids” in 1994, and Eimear Quinn’s winning song, “The Voice”, in 1996. Brendan said:

Belfast would be a super city to host Eurovision 2023, in partnership with Ukraine. The amenities are all there, not to mention the history and the surrounding beauty of Northern Ireland.

In some elemental and visceral way Belfast and its people might have a more natural empatico with the cities and people of Ukraine than perhaps other cities might have. Belfast is a city of hope and belief in the future…and would be a city of huge welcome and embrace for Ukraine.

What do you think? Is Belfast a suitable host city for Eurovision 2023? 

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