‘A mountain’ to climb for Limerick City of Culture

'Slightly daunting': Louise Donlon, manager of the Lime Tree Theatre

'Slightly daunting': Louise Donlon, manager of the Lime Tree Theatre

  • by Alan Owens

THE process of ‘broadening’ the City of Culture board, a bid to appease the artistic community in Limerick following the controversy that has dogged the project, has increased further in recent days.

City of Culture chair Pat Cox announced last week that two people representing the artistic community would be added to the board, along with interim CEO Mike Fitzpatrick on completion of his role.

However, following a request from the chairpersons of the pillar groups set up within City of Culture, that has now been broadened to three, as well as Mr Fitzpatrick.

As such, Louise Donlon, manager of the Lime Tree Theatre, Karen O’Donnell O’Connor, community development officer with Paul Partnership and James Lawlor, curator of the Eigse Michael Hartnett festival, have been accepted to the board.

“It is slightly daunting, because I realise the job – the mountain that has to be climbed,” said Ms Donlon.

“It is really a question of us trying to provide a structure as quickly as possible to make that happen. It is doable, it is going to be a challenge, but I think if those of use who know the business very well are listened to and our advice is taken, we will do everything we can, certainly, to be positive and move forward.”

The board is due to meet today to hear the status of the project from Mr Fitzpatrick.

“I want to see the programme implemented,” said Ms Donlon.

“The programme is there, it really stands up very well, for me that is the absolute priority, having a team in place as quickly as possible who will be able to deliver the programme.

“It is a big ask. I am not going to go into the row between the programmers and the board, but I am aware because it is public knowledge, that the fundamental problem seems to have been the structure to deliver the programme and having an adequate staff in place to do that.

“It is going to require people with knowledge of production and techinical management, finance and administration and marketing - they are the four key elements. They really need to be able to hit the ground running.

“Fundamentally that is what it is about, it is about delivering the programme and as far as I am concerned, I don’t really want to go back, and pick over the (row), there is no advantage in that, and yet at the same time I think it is really important that the board really interrogates the plan that is going to be put forward for the delivery of the programme, to make sure that it is realistic and achievable.”




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