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GRADAM WINNERS STOPPED AT N.I. BORDER, CEREMONY IN DOUBT
February 13, 2019
This year's TG4 Gradam Ceoil Ceremony has been thrown into doubt as the recipients of the awards have been stopped by armed forces at the Northern Ireland border.
It is thought that Brexit is to blame for creating a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, and has already claimed it's first victims in the form of traditional musicians Catherine McEvoy, Conor Connolly, Nicky McAuliffe and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill.
The Gradam winners were travelling together to Belfast, where the awards ceremony is taking place in the Waterfront Hall on Sunday night, however the organisers are unsure if this will now go ahead now that the musicians are being held at gunpoint.
A Tg4 spokesperson told The Drone: "The award winners are currently held at the border by the armed forces, for what reason we do not know, but I can assure you we are doing everything in our power to have them released and be allowed to continue their journey."
"The whole of Northern Ireland does not want to see a hard border re-instated as it creates so many problems and represents a terrible time in our history. Why they can't let a couple of bloody musicians through I don't know."
Tg4 says they have made contact with Government officials and have asked them to step in, however they say that it may take some time to have the musicians released.
Leo Varadker: "We have been in contact with border patrol and we are currently undergoing negotiations in order to have them released and be allowed to play on Sunday. Theresa May has been in touch also, but I can tell you the demands are completely put of proportion with what is happening. She wants Cavan!"
Accordion player and Young Musician of the Year, Conor Connolly, is reported to have been on the phone for hours in order to try and overcome the situation. The Drone intercepted one of his phonecalls:
"Ah yeah I know, it's ridiculous like. It's actually down to Nicky McAuliffe...They found a big box of machine guns in his house. Yeah, well...You think you know someone!"