More funding sought as flagship Limerick festivals cost €460k to run in 2018

David Hurley

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David Hurley

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david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Up in smoke? Questions were raised by councillors about spending on festivals, especially about details of costings

Up in smoke? Questions were raised by councillors about spending on festivals, especially about details of costings

CONCERNS have been expressed about the funding model for two of Limerick’s flagship festivals.

Briefing members of the Metropolitan District on Monday,  Sheila Deegan, arts and culture officer with Limerick City and County Council said the cost of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival was €284,808 while the cost of Riverfest totalled €174,615.

She said around 160,000 people attended both events and that it is planned to increase the budget by 5% in 2019.

The figures drew a mixed reaction from members with some saying they fully endorsed the proposed increase in the budget while others asked whether money should be spent on other events which take place at other times of the year.

Cllr Seighin O’Ceallaigh said he was unhappy that members of the Metropolitan District were being asked to “stump up” €30,000 in discretionary GMA funding for the two festivals.

Mayor of Limerick, Cllr James Collins called for greater detail to be provided to councillors as to how the money is being spent.

In particular, he noted the cost of the ‘Creative Programme’ for the St Patrick’s Festival was €94,205 and that no other details had been provided.

Cllr Joe Leddin expressed concern that too much money is being spent by the local authority and he asked if sponsorship and commercial partners had been sought.

Cllr Michael Sheehan said he is not happy that local companies and traders cannot afford the cost of pitches at Arthur’s Quay Park during Riverfest.

He said the cheapest pitch in 2018 was €738 compared to €200, pre-2016. The most expensive pitch, he said, is €3,800.

”People are spending their hard-earned cash and the money is going all  over Ireland,” he said.

In response, Ms Deegan said that more than €30,000 in revenue is generated from traders and that this is put towards the budget for Riverfest.