INTERVIEWS are due to take place this week for the position of director of City of Culture.
The Limerick Leader has learned that interim CEO Mike Fitzpatrick is among the shortlist of candidates - thought to be five, whittled down from 17 applicants - who will interview for the job, which was advertised as a one year fixed term.
A panel consisting of board chairman Pat Cox and board members Orlaith McBride of the Arts Council and Louise Donlon of the Lime Tree Theatre, plus a member of the HR department in UL, are interviewing what has been described by several sources as a group of “very strong” candidates.
The HR department in UL is providing a pro-bono service at City of Culture’s request to preserve the independence of the interview process and remove the local authority from the recruitment drive.
An official spokesperson for City of Culture declined to comment on the interviews, which are to take place this Thursday, the Leader understands.
“The integrity of the process will be respected and there will be no comment until the position has been finalised,” said the spokesperson.
Sources said that there was “100% unanimity” among board members that the position had to be advertised, unlike the process which saw Patricia Ryan appointed as CEO last year and to involve UL to make sure it was done “completely above board”.
The board members were also in close agreement about which candidates would be put forward for interview and the hope is that a recommendation will be put to the board at this Friday’s meeting.
The position has been filled by LSAD head of school Mike Fitzpatrick since January, when Patricia Ryan stepped down amid controversy over her appointment. Artistic director Karl Wallace resigned his position just before the year began, citing a breakdown in communication with Ms Ryan.
Mr Fitzpatrick explained that there would be “one central person with a dualistic role of managing and having a knowledge of artistic process”.
“In this case, at this point, it would seem more logical to have a singular person, just in terms of how to drive the project. Because a lot of the programming had been done and a lot of the structure is in place in that way so it is really about managing the project the rest of the way through.”
Mr Fitzpatrick, who was brought in as part of an institutional arrangement with LIT as interim CEO, is understood to have strong support among board members for the position.