Jury will decide Limerick’s EU Capital of Culture fate

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Bid director Mike Fitzpatrick said it was a 'great honour' for Limerick to go for the designation. He is pictured here with Blind Boy of the Rubberbandits drumming up support for the process. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters
TWENTY copies of Limerick’s bid document for the prized European Capital of Culture 2020 designation have been submitted to the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

TWENTY copies of Limerick’s bid document for the prized European Capital of Culture 2020 designation have been submitted to the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The comprehensive, 80 page document is the end result of over eight months work by the bid team, headed up by ex-City of Culture director Mike Fitzpatrick.

The lengthy, two-stage process, which has started with the document’s submission, will now move to a key stage, with a presentation to be made to a ten person jury on November 13 in Dublin Castle.

Dublin, Galway and the Three Sisters or South East regional clustering of Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny are all bidding for the title, which is regulated by the EU Commission and is to be awarded jointly to an Irish and Croatian city in 2020.

Mr Fitzpatrick said that bidding for the title was “a great honour for Limerick”.

“A great number of people have contributed to the process. We are happy with the submission and look forward to meeting the jury,” he said.

“The competitive process is a good way of understanding our cultural strategy for future years and for putting in context our plans for Limerick as a strong centre for culture and creative industries,” he added.

While the bid document is not as of yet available to the public, the Leader understands that it sets out the creation of a specific cultural strategy for Limerick and focuses on the city’s capacity to host the designation, the vision and theme that would be utilised, a framework of possible events that would take place and specifically why Limerick should be EU Capital of Culture in 2020.

Social and physical regeneration - utilising culture - in a European context, is a major theme of the bid document, and City of Culture and the Regeneration process in Limerick has informed the pitch.

“The journey to designation as European Capital of Culture is an exciting one and Limerick has risen to the challenge to compete,” said arts and culture officer Sheila Deegan, a key member of the team.

“The support for the bid is overwhelming and the team have worked hard in listening and understanding what message to bring forward to the jury,” she added.

A spokesperson for the Department of Arts said: “The EU Commission, who are responsible for the running of this European Capital of Culture, will be publishing the bid-books once the selection process is over. It is a matter for each bidding city if they wish to publish their own bids earlier via their own websites.

“The next stage in the process is a pre-selection meeting which will take place in November. This will be followed by a further selection meeting in July 2016 (date to be confirmed).

“Following this final selection meeting, a press conference will be arranged at which the winning city will be announced.”

The Leader understands that the announcement will be made at around 4.30pm on November 13. Two cities will be selected from the four that have applied.

Limerick is currently the rank outsider to win the EU designation with online bookmaker Paddy Power at 5/1. Galway is the clear favourite at 13/8, followed by the Three Sisters at 2/1 and Dublin at 9/4.