Key meetings to determine future of Limerick’s EU 2020 bid

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Assembling a 'war chest': CEO Conn Murray
TWO key meetings that will frame Limerick’s bid for European Capital of Culture in 2020 will take place on Monday.

TWO key meetings that will frame Limerick’s bid for European Capital of Culture in 2020 will take place on Monday.

The European Commission is to host an information meeting in Dublin on Monday to provide insight into the process for the selection for 2020, which Limerick officials will attend.

Also on Monday, funding that is to be set aside in the council’s budget for 2015 and earmarked for the 2020 project will be presented by Limerick CEO Conn Murray to councillors as part of the book of estimates process.

The Limerick Leader understands that Mr Murray is planning to set aside a “war chest” of some €600,000 over the next number of years for the 2020 bid, with service support costs to rise upwards of €250,000 in 2015.

The council is also projecting to spend around €1.36m on tourism development and promotion, with the 2020 bid and the management of the arts and culture also to fall under that purview, if councillors approve the estimates.

A spokesperson for the council said that “work is on-going in preparation for the Estimates meeting on Monday and the Bid for 2020 will have to be considered as part of that.

Regarding the make-up of an agency to run the bid, and to manage the arts and culture in the aftermath of City of Culture, the spokesperson said there was “no update on the composition of the agency” and it was still at proposal stage.

City of Culture director Mike Fitzpatrick recently presented plans to councillors for a new entity to be created to manage the arts and culture and the 2020 bid process.

He outlined a “cultural strategic proposal” for 2015-2020, and specifically a new entity, acting under the title of “Limerick Creates” that would aim to deliver a “cohesive, cultural strategy for a planning and delivery system” for the bid. He said it would act under the auspices of the local authority and would encompass a “stakeholder group” and an executive.

Potential actions of the entity would be to produce a “competitive bid” for 2020, achieve a cohesion among the cultural sector, deliver cultural infrastructure developments, resource legacy projects from the year of culture and grow ambition for “world class cultural productions”.

Mr Fitzpatrick, who was seconded to City of Culture from LIT and whose contract expires on January 31, may yet be the man to head up the agency, but plans are not expected to be finalised for some months.

City of Culture commissioned both a social impact study - which will begin next week, carried out by Theatre Forum - and an economic impact study, carried out by Grant Thornton, the results of which are expected around March and may point the way forward for any potential new agency.