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Speculation on future of Limerick City of Culture director Karl Wallace

In happier times: Karl Wallace, former artistic director and Pat Cox, chairman, Limerick City of Culture 2014

In happier times: Karl Wallace, former artistic director and Pat Cox, chairman, Limerick City of Culture 2014

  • by Alan Owens
 

THERE was intense speculation this week that Karl Wallace, artistic director of Limerick City of Culture, is strongly considering resigning from the project just days before it is due to begin.

Mr Wallace, originally from London, was appointed to the position in March of this year and was largely responsible for putting together the programme for the year of culture, which was unveiled in November.

Sources have indicated that Mr Wallace, the former artistic director of the Belltable Arts Centre, feels that his position has been marginalised by recent events.

A number of programmers who worked with Mr Wallace are also understood to be ready to walk away from the project if he resigns.

Meanwhile, after a major controversy over the appointment of City of Culture CEO Patricia Ryan, details of her rumuneration package have been released, following repeated requests from national media organisations.

Ms Ryan’s salary, a spokesman said, will be €79,000 a year, or €6,580 per month for her 18-month contract.

One national newspaper had speculated that the figure was closer to €170,000, which was strongly denied by Limerick city and county manager Conn Murray, who appointed her.

Ms Ryan has the potential to earn a bonus of €15,000 per year if she achievies certain key performance indicators, such as bringing the project in on budget and delivering the programme as outlined.

The artistic community in Limerick was rife with rumours this week that the entire team of programmers working on Limerick City of Culture had already stepped down, but that is not the case, the Leader understands.

Mr Wallace is believed to have taken legal advice on his next course of action, and is expected to meet with officials on Friday.

A number of other people have been appointed to positions within the cultural programme to run it in recent weeks, including former Trinity Rooms boss Joe Clarke and Paul Boland, technical manager with the University Concert Hall.

One source claimed that Mr Wallace “wasn’t allowed to do the job he was hired for”.

“From the get-go he was undermined and wasn’t given the support he needed, even though he went through an interview process in the right way and was given the job on merit,” said the source.

Mr Wallace was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press and a City of Culture spokesperson declined to comment, except to say “we are fully focussed on delivering the exciting programme that has been put in place for 2014”.

 

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