LIMERICK’s bid for European Capital of Culture in 2020 will go before a jury this Friday to determine if it moves to the next stage.
If Limerick makes the shortlist it will benefit from a dedicated team working on cultural programmes and practice for the major European designation over the next nine months. Failure is difficult to contemplate.
A ten person jury will decide which of the candidates - also including Dublin, Galway and the South East clustering of Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny - will make the shortlist.
All could make it, the Leader understands, or it could be whittled down by one or more.
An 80 page document outlining Limerick’s bid has already been lodged for the title, which is regulated by the EU Commission and is to be awarded jointly to an Irish and Croatian city in 2020.
A 30 minute presentation will be made by the bid team this Friday, followed by a 40 minute q&a. The shortlist will be announced at 4.15pm in Dublin Castle.
Limerick’s bid is titled Multiplicity, specifically referring to the “many diverse elements across Limerick that can be brought together within the brackets of culture”.
Bid director Mike Fitzpatrick said the team “really do want to get into the second round but what happens ultimately will happen”.
“We have prepared very well and have a great team lined up,” he said.
“We want to thank all the team here in Culture House, the broader team that are helping us going to do the bid - and the fantastic support in the last week across every walk of life in Limerick and beyond. That encouragement is what it is all about.
“Win, lose or draw after that, all we can do is go in and do our best. We certainly have prepared very well and we feel we have a great team,” he added.
The former City of Culture director declined to be drawn directly on the contents of the bid or who will present it this Friday, saying merely it would be “a broadly representative team”.
“We have no way of knowing that (the outcome), they will come in the door and decide. You could make a case for every scenario. Our particular strength is the change that is happening in Limerick and how we can continue to drive that, irregardless of whether we get the bid or not.
“The strengths in an overall view is that this is a city that has turned around, the momentum that was going in the wrong way - we were a city in decline and we have stopped that. That took a couple of years, and now we are a city that are really cohesively working together to change that by every means, social, cultural and economic. Those are the three pillars of where we are.”