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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 29 January, 2020

Arts Minister read about Limerick City of Culture resignation ‘in the paper’

The Arts Minister says he won’t be seeking changes to the board, other than including the ‘Limerick arts community’.

The launch of Limerick City of Culture 2014.
The launch of Limerick City of Culture 2014.
Image: Limerick City of Culture via Facebook

THE ARTS MINISTER has said that he will not be seeking changes to the management of the beleaguered Limerick City of Culture programme.

Jimmy Deenihan told RTÉ’s This Week programme that he will only seek to include more members of the Limerick arts community on the board, which has come under severe scrutiny in recent days.

The artistic director of the €6 million programme, Karl Wallace, stepped down just hours after the year-long event launched on New Year’s Eve.

That sparked fierce debate about the appointment of CEO Patricia Ryan, who had previously served as an adviser to board chairman Pat Cox.

However, the Minister for Arts told RTÉ that he had only read about Wallace’s departure ‘in the paper’.

Had I known that Karl Wallace was thinking of resigning, I would have picked up the phone and talked to him, but I was only hearing what everyone else was hearing after I read it in the paper.

Deenihan denied that the timing of the budget announcement had any impact on the problems at the programme, saying that an October announcement had been agreed well in advance.

“I first mentioned this programme down in Limerick in 2011 and I felt that it would be a good idea. I got a presentation from Limerick and made it a national programme.

I would have preferred budget announcement earlier, but we had to wait. I would have expected them to get cracking [on planning the programme of events]. The figure of €6 million had been mentioned, generally.

“Limerick is a proud city and wants to make it work and we have to get it back on track.

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

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

Read: Facebook page of Limerick City of Culture is hacked

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