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McLellan expresses concern for direction of City of Culture initiative

4 January, 2014

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Arts Heritage and Tourism, Sandra McLellan, has expressed her concern for the City of Culture project in Limerick this year.

Speaking following the resignation of the City of Culture’s artistic director Karl Wallace and programmers Jo Mangan and Maeve McGrath, Deputy McLellan said that there were questions from the very beginning regarding the management of the project, and particularly in terms of the support of the Department.

She stated:

“I have been making the point since last September that the whole project was being put in jeopardy by the failure of the Department to make clear what budget was to be made available mere months before it was due to begin. This made it very difficult to plan events or to book artists and acts.”

“We also saw later in the year the debacle over the appointment of the CEO, which, regardless of the individual selected, was an entirely inappropriate process, lacking in transparency.

“There is increasing concern in Limerick Cultural and Social circles, and indeed the wider community as to the viability of the project.  It is underfunded, and there is now a huge shadow over the year.

“That is regrettable, because the announcement was a huge boost to the city. Action needs to be taken now to ensure this is a success. The Minister for the Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, needs to convene a meeting with all key stakeholders to see how the year can be gotten back on track, and he needs to commit the full resources of his Department to ensuring it can be.”

“The people of Limerick deserve the proper support of the statutory authorities, and deserve the opportunity to showcase their lively cultural scene to the world, and I hope they get that opportunity.”

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