limerick City of Culture chairman Pat Cox has revealed that a number of companies have promised “six figure sponsorships” of events.
Mr Cox also paid a warm tribute to Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) boss Mike Fitzpatrick, who took over as interim head of the project, following the resignation of Patricia Ryan as chief executive.
He joined Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan as the keynote speaker at a special dinner organised in LSAD’s main hall for the Irish Technology Leadership Group this week.
To an audience of local, national and international business people, Mr Cox said the National City of Culture project was firmly back on track, after the controversies which surrounded it at the start of the year, leading to the resignation of artistic director Karl Wallace and two of his team.
He argued the biggest evidence of this is the number of companies that have given backing to the various events.
“I am not in a position to release details. But I am in a position to say to you that we are looking at substantial six-figure sponsorships from more than one sponsor, something which was not available a few short weeks ago. It shows again Limerick’s determination to succeed,” he told those gathered.
Mr Cox added that the City of Culture team had put together 109 local and community projects - which he described as “a showcase of self-expression in Limerick”.
“We had a spectacular launch on New Year’s Eve, accompanied by no less than two splendid fire work displays, followed by an unexpected media orgy of fireworks,” he said, in reference to local and national newspaper coverage.
But he compared this to the characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from the Shakespeare play Hamlet, adding: “They entered stage left and exited stage right”.
“Our little bout of unwanted publicity at the start of the year was rather like that moment. The point I want to emphasise was that Hamlet will go on. That the determination and the focus never changed: to make sure the gift which this year is will be fully explored as a city,” he explained, “We will be judged by what we do now, and not by the events at the start of the year
He heaped praise on Mr Fitzpatrick, and also thanked LIT boss Dr Hinfelaar for making him available to oversee the project, describing it as “a very innovative e placement of corporate citizenship”.
This time referencing former US president Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 ‘Man in the Arena’ speech, Mr Cox then added: “We have the doer of deeds provided to us in this innovative civic engagement, and that man is Mike Fitzpatrick. He is the man who will make the difference and will allow Limerick City of Culture to succeed”.
The dinner was later addressed by Mr Deenihan, who reflected Mr Cox’s sentiments.