VIDEO – Noonan urges unity for Limerick as he supports CEO appointment

By Andrew Carey
MINISTER for Finance Minister Michael Noonan has urged everyone to move on from the public row over the appointment of the City of Culture CEO and now take the opportunity to rebrand Limerick city.

As the row rumbles on over the appointment of Patricia Ryan as the CEO of the City of Culture 2014, Minister Noonan said today that “we are very lucky to have her” and described the advisor to the former President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, as an “extremely competent person”.

The Finance Minister’s comments came as he spoke to reporters at the official opening of King John’s Castle following its €6 million refurbishment where record numbers have visited the urban castle experience since its reopening last June.

Urging everyone to unite behind the City of Culture programme and set their differences aside, Minister Noonan said that “Decisions have to be made. The process is killing the country. Sometimes things have to be decided and done and that was decided in the summer time and I fully support the decision of the board to do it”.

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Ms Ryan was an advisor to the former President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, who is chairman of the board of Limerick City of Culture.

The City of Culture, he said, was a great concept which has attracted a lot of good people with strong backgrounds who have given their time free of charge to develop the programme and added that he considered Ms Ryan’s appointment to be a “good one too”.

“There is always difference of opinions in big projects but there are also fora for sorting out differences, where people can discuss things and it would be a pity now when we are rebranding the city and giving it the kind of image it deserves that that would be tarnished in any way by discontent but I think it’s just a minor event, I think it’s blowing through the system already”

When asked if the CEO position should have been advertised, Minister Noonan said; “When you say CEO it sounds like a very high level appointment but what you are talking about is a temporary appointment for 18 months. The City of Culture is a year long event and there is a bit of a lead in time and there will be a bit of a wrap up time at the end so what you are talking about is a temporary position for 18 months.”

”It is a fantastic opportunity to rebrand this city.. to put a lot of the bad times behind us and to put out a new image of the city and we need to get that message out far and wide,” he said.