Levenshulme joins Rochdale and backs Irish Post Campaign to Save Parlour

March 9, 2006 12:50 AM

The biggest Irish Community outside of London has joined forces with THe Irish Post to campaign against BBC GMR's plans to axe popular Irish Show "The Parlour" The village of Levenshulme in South Manchester has responded with fury after their local BBC Radio Station's plans were leaked. Levenshulme's many Irish shops, pubs and cafes are now gathering names on a petition. The Parlour has interviewed the great and the good in the Irish Community including current president of Ireland Mary McAleese, former Leader of the SDLP and Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize - Rt. Hon. John Hulme, Housewife's Favourite Daniel O'Donnell and Manchester United Legend Denis Irwin.

From April - the show, the longest running Irish Radio Programme looks like it may be confined the history books if the BBC have their way. Lawrence Hennigan, Director of the Levenshulme Pub Company said, "BBC GMR and The Parlour programme have been a great asset to the Levenshulme community and we are very grateful for their support. But we do not want to lose 'The Parlour' brand, giving it a half hour news slot will lose it, its identity. It is great to see the Irish Post backing a campaign to save it.

The show has a long running tradition of being involved with events in Levenshulme. Recent examples include Outside Broadcasts from Young, Gifted and Green, the Levenshulme Festival and the Manchester Irish Festival. The Parlour Team do a great job advertising what's best about the Irish Community in Greater Manchester. This show, if these plans go ahead will be a great loss to the Irish Community. "

Tony Hennigan, the director of Irish promotions company 'Young, Gifted and Green' Company from Levenshulme for over 10 years said, "The Parlour has been an integral part of the community for over 20 years and I can not believe what is happening. The show has been run by dedicated team of volunteers for all the time it has been broadcasting. We are forever indebted to the support given to us by the programme.

It was ground breaking in its time and its success has led the way in promoting the great Irish Tradition the length and breadth of the country. It has exclusively told the world of great talents like James Keegan (Principal dancer with Lord of The Dance & three times world champion), successful musical exports like Dezi Donnelly (RTE Musician of the Year), Michael McGoldrick (BBC Folk Musdician of the Year) and John-Joe Kelly (BBC Award winer). If my memory serves me correctly they were the first radio show to predict that Irish Comedian Peter Kay would be a force to be reckoned with in comedy!"

Local, Levenshulme Councillor John Commons who is a Founder Member of the Manchester Irish Festival Committee said, "I will gladly put my name to fight to save one of Manchester's great institutions. The Parlour has been there and reported on some of best and most traumatic events involving the Irish Community in Manchester. They were there reporting on the first Manchester Irish Festival and have supported it ever since. They were also on the frontline of the aftermath of the IRA Bombing on the 15th June 1996, they spoke up for the whole of Manchester at the time and the show was a great comfort for many people at the time. I was very proud when BBC GMR made the decision to air The Parlour - if you were to write about the Irish in Manchester in the last 20 years it would be impossible not to mention The Parlour. Last year, the BBC won a prestigious award from The County Mayo Association for their contribution to the Irish Community via The Parlour. The BBC gratefully received it - a year is a long time!"

Landlady of the popular Union Pub in Levenshulme - Mary McGee said, "I think this is the wrong decision, we have hosted events from The Parlour here at The Union and their reach into the community will be missed if the show is axed. We will be encouraging our punters to sign a petition against any changes. The show is popular not just with the Irish but also the dozens of other customers we have, we have to save this show!"

People can support the campaign by writing to John Ryan the new editor at BBC GMR, PO Box 951, Oxford Road, Manchester M60 1SD. Or they can post a message on the message Irish Festival website at www.manchesteririshfestival.co.uk