LIMERICK’s local authority has described as ‘speculative’ reports that a new company is to be set up to boost tourism and promote industries linked to the arts.
Media reports have suggested that a Creative Limerick Agency is to be set up to sit into the vacuum created by the close of City of Culture at the end of the year.
However, the Limerick Leader understands that the creation of such an agency is just one of a number of options currently being considered by the council.
A council spokesperson confirmed that it was “examining ways to maintain the climate of support for culture and build on what has been achieved in 2014.
“As part of the bid for Limerick city to be named European Capital of Culture 2020, the local authority is examining a number of models to deliver economic, social and cultural benefits for Limerick over the years ahead,” said the spokesperson.
“A tender process is currently underway to secure consultancy services to prepare the 2020 bid and any announcement of the creation of a new body at this stage is speculative,” she added.
It is understood that the framework for a new agency was presented to interested stakeholders by City of Culture director Mike Fitzpatrick recently.
The Creative Limerick Agency would, it was outlined, be wholly owned by the local authority and would have its own chief executive, board of directors and staff, with funding to come from City and County Council and private sources.
Speaking last week, Limerick CEO Conn Murray said City of Culture had “released the potential, which we were hoping it would do, for Limerick to be a serious contender for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2020.
“We have tendered for the appropriate people or group to facilitate and work with the culture group to actually put in a bid and it will be an intensive piece of work, but I think in fairness we can say that the ingredients are there to be put together.”
A tender process is underway to secure consultancy services to prepare such a bid, while a local steering group – led by the local authority and comprising community, business interests and public representatives – was due to be set up to “direct and oversee preparations for a bid proposal”.