Limerick City of Culture interim boss tight lipped on position

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Mike Fitzpatrick: has been appointed to the position of director of Limerick City of Culture. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22
INTERIM CEO of Limerick City of Culture Mike Fitzpatrick has declined to comment as to whether he will apply for the advertised ‘director’ position of the project.

INTERIM CEO of Limerick City of Culture Mike Fitzpatrick has declined to comment as to whether he will apply for the advertised ‘director’ position of the project.

Mr Fitzpatrick said it would “not be appropriate” to reveal whether or not he would be applying for the post.

“I have no comment to make on that, none whatsoever,” he said.

The position has been advertised in the last week, with a closing date for 5pm this Tuesday, March 18. Mr Fitzpatrick will remain as interim CEO while the process to install a director, an amalgam of the CEO and artistic director roles, continues.

When asked to explain the decision to advertise one position, Mr Fitzpatrick said that “in many of these organisations there is one central person with a dualistic role of managing and having a knowledge of artistic process.

“In this case, at this point, it would seem more logical to have a singular person, just in terms of how to drive the project,” he said.

“Because a lot of the programming had been done and a lot of the structure is in place in that way so it is really about managing the project in the rest of the way through.”

When asked if the job was advertised in the most timely manner, he replied: “Possibly it could have been done earlier but it wasn’t a focus that I was engaged in. The board met over a week ago now and once that decision was made, the process was very quick after that.”

A board member pointed out that the team that took over in early January after the controversy of the resignations of Karl Wallace and Patricia Ryan had been “swamped trying to address the issues surrounding it” and a “huge amount of work” had been done since.

However, another board member expressed regret that the position had not been advertised immediately after the first meeting of the re-constituted board.

The role has been advertised on a one-year fixed-term basis and applications will be overseen by the HR department at UL, which, it is understood, is providing a pro-bono service at City of Culture’s request.

Interviews will take place, assuming there is a list of suitable candidates, after the closing date. A date has not been put on when the position will be filled and again depends on the suitability of candidates.

Meanwhile, a public meeting held in the Clarion Hotel last week to discuss the project was attended by around 30 people.

The meeting was billed as a follow-up to the stormy gathering in early January that was attended by nearly 500 people.

After last week’s meeting, at which a number of issues were discussed, including the project’s visibility and communication with artists on the ground, it was announced that an advocacy group, styling itself the Limerick Arts Collective Forum, had been established.

The group said it was “as a priority” seeking a meeting with City of Culture management.