Funds for Limerick City of Culture events transferred to other projects – McLellan
Speaking today during questions with Minister Heather Humphries, Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Sandra McLellan asked why more than €150,000 of public finances were transferred from three Limerick City of Culture 2014 events to other projects - some of which were not exclusive to the year-long celebrations.
"More than €150,000 of public finances were transferred from three Limerick City of Culture 2014 events to other projects - some of which were not exclusive to the year-long celebrations. Limerick City of Culture (LCOC) still requires an extra €400,000 of taxpayers' money to meet a funding shortfall after a spend of almost €11 million.
“€7.1m was provided by the Minister's Department and €3.4m was raised through sponsorship and donations.
“The €152,000 was allocated to three projects which did not proceed, and the funds were moved elsewhere. The cancelled events were among 15 listed events and were funded from an initial department allocation of €6m.
“Today I asked the Minister exactly how much was allocated to the cancelled project, and why that money wasn't recouped. Was it simply lost? It’s understood contractual payments and a booking deposit were paid in advance. LCOC has to date refused to state how much was spent on that event.
“Unfortunately, the Minster was unable to vouch for the traceability of that amount, nor was she able to inform me of a timeline for the review of LCOC.
“The question must be asked, where is the transparency through all of this? When I questioned why three scheduled events did not proceed, with funds instead being transferred to events unrelated to LCOC, the response given was that cultural programmes of events are subject to change. Is that explanation acceptable or good enough when its taxpayers' money being used to fund those events?
“I also asked will the €400,000 shortfall of overall payment for LCOC now be met by her Department, in other words, more taxpayers' money. No reply was given."