Deputy Sandra McLellan has criticised the Department of Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht for its failure thus far to guarantee funding levels for Limerick’s year as City of Culture.
Speaking today, during questions to the Minister, the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Arts and Heritage stated that it was unacceptable that mere months before the beginning of the new year, that the Local community did not know what funding would be allocated to them.
“There is increasing concern in Limerick in Artistic and Cultural circles as to how the project can succeed. It is beyond belief that the Minister is expecting the local Arts and Culture Community to organise an event like this, when, only months before it is due to start, it is unclear what funding will be available.
“It is hopelessly unfair on those on the ground who are working to make the year a success.
“The Minister has responded that he needs to wait for the budgetary process to conclude before he can confirm funding, but this is a poor excuse. Funding could have been allocated in the last budget, and by contrast Derry knew what funding was available to them for their year as City of Culture two and a half years before hand.
“The announcement of Limerick being made a city of culture was a substantial boost to the city. It is a city which has received a very unfair treatment in the media in recent years, and the year as City of Culture was seen by all as an excellent opportunity to highlight Limericks very substantial cultural heritage, and promote Limerick as a tourist destination.
“However, all that could be put in jeopardy and the enormous potential of the City of Culture title could be wasted if Central Government does come in behind the project, and provide adequate funding, and provide it immediately.”