Organisers of the annual Bloomsday event toasting James Joyce’s once-banned book, Ulysses have called for urgent Government funding to keep going.
Senator David Norris said the June 16 celebration has potential to be an ’Irish Mardi Gras’ but could now be in danger of dying out because he and other devotees are unable to carry on.
The veteran Joycean explained: “To do it for 25 years isn’t bad but I don’t think that anybody would expect us to do it for another 25 years without assistance.
“One of Joyce’s relatives has cancer. Another has suffered a stroke. I’m getting old. I’m in my sixties. My eyesight isn’t as good as it was.
“We are the epicentre of it and it’s like a bonfire. If the centre dies out, very soon the whole thing turns into embers. That’s a possibility. It might not happen but it’s a possibility.”
Several Bloomsday-themed events are due to take place in Dublin on Thursday and in other cities around the world.
The date is named after Ulysses’ central character Leopold Bloom and his adventures around Dublin on a single day, June 16, 2004.
Senator Norris added: “It’s time for Ireland to decide is this going to be be continued as a loved institution or is there a question mark over it.
“It can’t continue with the present people because everybody is getting on.”
Senator Norris said that Bloomsday and the James Joyce Centre on Dublin’s northside need to be supported by Exchequer funds to realise their full cultural and tourist value.
“I have said to the tourism people here that if they played their cards right they could have something on their hands that could eventually rival Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
“It’s going in that direction. It’s a national holiday that is fun. There’s no nastiness in it. It’s something that everybody can enjoy and it leads people into reading Joyce.
“If Bertie coughs up, it will show everybody how cultivated the Government is.”