Row breaks out at council over arts funding allocation in Limerick

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Cllr Sean Lynch at the launch of the Richard Harris film festival during his year as metropolitan mayor, alongside council arts officer Sheila Deegan and actor Zeb Moore, who organises the festival

Cllr Sean Lynch at the launch of the Richard Harris film festival during his year as metropolitan mayor, alongside council arts officer Sheila Deegan and actor Zeb Moore, who organises the festival

A ROW has broken out in Limerick City and County Council over the allocation of €28,000 in arts funding from the general municipal allocation (GMA).

Councillors proposed to dig into their own fund to provide grants to the Milk Market (€10,000), the Richard Harris film festival (€5,000), the Bottom Dog theatre (€4,000), the Limerick Summer Musical Festival (€5,000), busking in Arthur’s Quay (€2,000) and the Limerick Pride parade (€2,000).

But after Fine Gael councillor Michael Hourigan had announced these allocations, Fianna Fail member Sean Lynch said he was disappointed at what he believed is a low level of funding for the Richard Harris film festival, which takes place on the October bank holiday weekend.

“I’m disappointed,” he told members, “Richard Harris gives back so much to the city. The festival deserves more than that. Richard Harris is a brand, a Limerick man through and through, and it’s so disappointing to the family.”

He proposed the Harris festival should be given more than €5,000.

But Cllr Lynch was told the festival is funded through other public sources.

However, Independent member John Loftus said he did not feel the Harris festival deserved the cash.

“I was seriously disappointed with the offering last year. They did not show one Richard Harris film. Some of the movies that were shown, you could find them on the web.”

Instead, he suggested diverting more of the funding towards the Bottom Dog theatre which is working on the centenary commemorations for the 1919 Limerick Soviet.

Although he forced a vote on the matter, he could only secure the support of fellow Independent councillor John Gilligan..

Elsewhere, all the northside councillors agreed a total of €50,000 in sports grants. St Patrick’s GAA and Na Piarsaigh GAA will both get €10,000 each, while the Corbally Community Park enabling association has been given €15,000. Kileely Autism and the Caherdavin Boys School autism unit will get €7,500 each.