‘No shortfall’ to council after Limerick City of Culture

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

'No shortfall': Limerick CEO Conn Murray on City of Culture. Picture: Sean Curtin
LIMERICK CEO Conn Murray has confirmed that there will be “no shortfall” to the local authority as a result of City of Culture, the final bill for which stands at around €10m.

LIMERICK CEO Conn Murray has confirmed that there will be “no shortfall” to the local authority as a result of City of Culture, the final bill for which stands at around €10m.

Mr Murray was speaking after a special meeting of Limerick City and County Council at County Hall this Monday evening, where councillors universally hailed the success of the year and director Mike Fitzpatrick outlined plans for a new entity to be created to manage the arts and culture in Limerick as the city prepares for a bid for European Capital of Culture in 2020.

“The authority are not facing a shortfall,” confirmed Mr Murray, when asked about the amount above the State’s contribution of €6m to the programme.

“The budget line was approximately €10m, we have not exceeded the budget line in the context that we set from the very beginning of the year. Those figures will be fully available at the end of the year, when all the events have been fully taken on board,” he said.

“There was always going to be a requirement in terms of both philanthropic and support from sponsorship perspective, and obviously from a local authority perspective, you heard today the level of praise there was for our staff and it is the type of support we provided.”

Mr Fitzpatrick, who may yet be the man to head up the new agency created specifically to manage Limerick’s 2020 European Capital of Culture bid once this year is finished, said that some 750,000 people had attended the various events of City of Culture in 2014.

He then outlined a “cultural strategic proposal” for 2015-2020, and specifically a new entity, acting under the title “of Limerick Creates” that would aim to deliver a “cohesive, cultural strategy for a planning and delivery system” for the 2020 bid.

He said it would act under the auspices of the local authority and would encompass a “stakeholder group” and an executive.

Potential actions of the entity would be to produce a “competitive bid” for 2020, achieve a cohesion among the cultural sector, deliver cultural infrastructure developments, resource legacy projects from the year of culture and grow ambition for “world class cultural productions”.

Asked if he would like to be the one to lead the entity, the head of school in LIT’s LSAD who was seconded to City of Culture said: “I have commitments and I have to be very careful how I answer that question, but I would be very happy to have some involvement in the overall thing.

“People have experience so we don’t want to lose that, take that valuable experience and apply it. Certainly the arts and culture are very under resourced, so you need to make that work more cohesively. Conn, from his perspective, has to decide how he can make that fly, with whatever resources can be brought to bear.”