Crisis meeting for Limerick City of Culture tonight

David Hurley


David Hurley

Limerick has been designated national City of Culture for 2014
Some of the key players overseeing the Limerick City of Culture project are set to attend a public meeting in the city tonight.

Some of the key players overseeing the Limerick City of Culture project are set to attend a public meeting in the city tonight.

The meeting, which will take place at the Clarion Hotel, has been called by Richie Ryan, director of CentreStage studios, in the wake of the resignation of Karl Wallace as artistic director of City of Culture.

It is understood that Patricia Ryan, ceo of City of Culture and Pat Cox, chairman will attend the meeting after briefing members of Limerick City and County Councils. Conn Murray, the Limerick city and county manager will also attend the meetings. “It will an open forum for people to ask whatever questions they wish,” said Mr Ryan.

A spokesperson for Limerick City of Culture said this evening’s meetings will be closed to the media but that a press conference will take place afterwards.

Yesterday, a number of key stakeholders in City of Culture said they believed the project has been “compromised” by the departure of Mr Wallace and two other members of his team - Jo Mangan and Maeve McGrath.

“You can’t perform open heart surgery without a cardiologist, you can’t deliver a city of culture without an artistic director,” said Mary Coll after Mr Wallace informed stakeholders that he believed his position had become untenable.

Earlier yesterday, Pat Cox, revealed that the board of Limerick City of Culture requested Limerick City Council to carry out “performance review” of Karl Wallace’s work.

According to Mr Cox, Mr Wallace failed to attend a number of subsequent meetings at City Hall due to a combination of illness and holidays.

“In the light of the discussions that the board had and the many issues that were considered by the board, a performance review was requested and one was carried out. I am not familiar with the internal details of that, but I am aware that meetings were sought between the employer and Karl Wallace, and that those meetings did not take place,” Mr Cox told Limerick’s Live 95FM.

Asked if Mr Wallace’s resignation was a result of a breakdown in communications with Patricia Ryan, CEO of Limerick City of Culture and a former advisor to Mr Cox during his time as an MEP in Brussels, Mr Cox said “it’s a lot more complicated than that.”

In his only public comment to date, Karl Wallace told the Irish Independent he felt he did not have a choice.

“While I regret making an early departure, I can no longer stand over a project that I have concerns about, concerns that have been repeatedly aired but not addressed,” he said.

“From May onwards, I outlined the necessary staffing structure to deliver the programme including positions such as a technical manager, education and outreach advisor, operations manager. As we progressed, it was very clear that those requests were not going to be honoured and also that there was a lack of basic understanding and arts expertise of the structure that is required to make a project like this work,” he added.

For coverage of tonight’s meetings and press conference, follow the Limerick Leader on Twitter.