Concern over lack of progress in City of Culture

LimkCityOfCulture 4LIMERICK theatre school director Richie Ryan, who called the now infamous public meeting over the City of Culture board’s handling of the project back in January, said he is “bemused and disappointed” at the lack of progress in appointing a full-time artistic director and chief executive.

While the City of Culture board confirmed that they would advertise the position of City of Culture director this week, there has been growing unrest over the delay in making the key appointments since Mike Fitzpatrick of the Limerick School of Art and Design agreed to take on the role of interim chief executive on January 7.

Mr Ryan, who has been critical of the management structure of the City of Culture and its “wink and nod mentality”, has once again called for the resignation of Chairman Pat Cox from the board.

“We are now two months after the public meeting in the Clarion Hotel, the appointment of Mike Fitzpatrick as interim head, and we have seen little or no progress in this and many other concerns that were rightly articulated on January 4,” he said.

Mr Ryan who is director of CentreStage studios, also expressed “grave concerns” over lack of progress in programming and the absence of a vibrant City of Culture information point within the city centre.

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“I’m afraid that the public are still feeling disenfranchised with lack a of clarity and information from the board and management at this time. I believe it is now time for Pat Cox to seriously consider his position as chairman and step down as I have little confidence in his ability to learn from past mistakes and revitalise Limerick’s position as National City of Culture going forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the board of Limerick City of Culture’s monthly meeting last Thursday, it was agreed to advertise the position of director of City of Culture this week. The board confirmed that interim head of Limerick City of Culture Mike Fitzpatrick will continue in his role while this public process is being finalised.

It also welcomed the decision of Limerick City Council to lead the city’s bid on the pre-selection phase of the European Capital of Culture 2020 designation. The bid will form part of the Limerick National City of Culture Legacy programme and will involve acquiring an additional relevant resource to work on behalf of Limerick City Council in conjunction with the City of Culture team on this bid.

A public meeting regarding Limerick City of Culture takes place at the Clarion Hotel this Thursday, March 6 at 7pm. The Board of City of Culture, its interim CEO Mike Fitzpatrick, Mayor Kathleen Leddin, city arts officer and all local public representatives have been invited to attend.