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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 23 October, 2014

Limerick City of Culture chair Pat Cox stands his ground amid controversy

The chair of the beleaguered project says he is still convinced that the first ever national city of culture can still be a success despite the initial problems.

Pat Cox
Pat Cox
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE CHAIR OF the beleagured Limerick City of Culture project Pat Cox has said he is convinced that the event can still be a success, and that the problems facing the project have happened in other cities already.

In a statement this evening, Cox said he and the Board of the project are determined to ensure that Ireland’s first ever national city of culture passes off without any more problems.

He made the comments amid a heated public meeting taking place in Limerick tonight about what has happened in the past three days amid increasing controversy about the management of the project following the resignation of artistic director Karl Wallace.

The Board of Limerick City of Culture met this afternoon and accepted the official resignation of Karl Wallace.  Advertisements will be placed in the coming week for a new artistic director who will be appointed ‘as a matter of urgency’, the Board said.

The Board said it has designated a number of people from Limerick’s artistic and cultural community as board members, and stressed that all of the 109 projects which are taking place throughout the year will be fulfilled.

Pat Cox sought to head off complaints about the handling of the high profile resignation of Karl Wallace.

“What, unhappily, has happened in Limerick over recent days is not without precedent in other city of culture projects but it has only served to reinforce the resolve and determination of the board to ensure that this first national designation will succeed for Limerick and for Ireland,” he said.

It was announced in 2012 that Limerick would be Ireland’s first ever National City of Culture from 1 January 2014 with a year-long programme of events across the county, but the project has been dogged with controversy.

Karl Wallace, who was appointed to the position in March, cited a breakdown in communication between his team and the chief executive of the project, Patricia Ryan, who worked as an assistant to Pat Cox while he was an MEP.  Two other programmers are also stepping down.

Read: Just as the event begins, the artistic director of Limerick National City of Culture quits >

Read: Limerick to become first ever National City of Culture >

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