MIKE Fitzpatrick, who has been named director of Limerick City of Culture after an interview process, has “paid tribute” to the artistic team who departed the project before it began.
The head of school in LIT’s LSAD, was named interim CEO in January after Patricia Ryan stepped down amid controversy over her appointment. Artistic director Karl Wallace and two of his programming team also resigned his position just before the year began, citing a breakdown in communication with Ms Ryan.
Mr Fitzpatrick was named director of the project late on Friday after interviews took place on Thursday. He told the Limerick Leader he was “delighted and honoured to be doing it”.
“I am happy about it. It was a bit fraught - or complicated - to apply for a job that you are doing,” he said.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the work that was done prior to my arrival. We haven’t changed any of the programme, we haven’t changed a lot of the mechanics that were put in.”
Mr Fitzpatrick spoke to LIT president Maria Hinfelaar over the weekend and said she was “happy to proceed” with his secondment to the role, the product of an institutional arrangement with City of Culture.
“I felt that whether I got the job or not, it was just as important that I at least put myself forward because of the commitment I had made to people. There is a lot of confidence about the project now, which is great.”
The culture chief also revealed that the Crescent Shopping Centre have come on board as a “very significant supporter” of the project.