Call for resignations over appointment row

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Patricia Ryan
Patricia Ryan

LIMERICK theatre producer Richie Ryan has called for the immediate resignation of City Manager Conn Murray, Committee Chairman Pat Cox and Chief Executive Patricia Ryan from the board of Limerick City of Culture 2014.

Mr Ryan of CentreStage Theatre School was commenting on Ms Ryan’s controversial appointment as chief executive of Limerick City of Culture, without the job being advertised. Ms Ryan, a former adviser to former European Parliament President, Pat Cox, was appointed on Mr Murray’s recommendation.

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According to Richie Ryan, the appointment highlights the ineptitude, arrogance and unacceptable manner in which the City of Culture team is treating many Limerick artists. He described the situation as “embarrassing” and said it highlights the total disregard for public funding.

“The wink and nod mentality seems rampant in the board structure of The Limerick City of Culture at this time. The management structure raises serious questions when it comes to allocation of resources to the dedicated local theatre practitioners during what has the potential to be a very invigorating time for culture in Limerick City,” said Mr Ryan.

He said he has lost confidence in Conn Murray, Pat Cox and Patricia Ryan to steer Limerick City of Culture 2014 with any meaningful transparency or accountability at this time.

“I call for their immediate resignation from the executive board. I am sure that this situation would not be tolerated in any other major city in Ireland.”

Cllr Tom Shortt, who represented Limerick City Council on the board of the Belltable Theatre for four years, has also said that Patricia Ryan, “must step down now”.

He claims Ms Ryan is without any expertise or experience in the demanding world of arts management.

“This has gripped the public imagination in Limerick and people are shocked by the arrogance of it.

“This is a deeply flawed appointment. For the success and the integrity of the City of Culture project, Ms Ryan must step down. The position must be advertised immediately and a chief executive must be properly recruited,” he declared.

Meanwhile, Cllr Joe Leddin said he has “absolute confidence” in Ms Ryan as CEO of the City of Culture project and in its board.
“I have met Patricia on a few occasions and I believe she has the professional experience and the ability to ensure that Limerick 2014 will be a hugely successful event,” he said.
Speaking at City Hall this week City and County Manager, Conn Murray, told council members that he was satisfied there was no breach of recruitment regulations. He also revealed that the City of Culture project was under pressure to secure a chief executive because of funding delays.
“I’m very confident the person in place is the right person to do the job for Limerick,” said Murray.