by Alan Jacques
Published by Grant Thornton, the major economic impact assessment shows that almost €30m was spent by people attending City of Culture events in Limerick. On top of that, the€12m invested into the cultural services sector during the year-long programme generated a minimum €13.4m benefit to the regional and national economy including €1.4m indirect and induced benefits.
The study also revealed that Limerick City of Culture generated a €13m cumulative advertising value (AVE) based on a total of 4,887 press and broadcast articles during 2014.
Over 3,000 events took place in Limerick in 2014 as part of 156 projects with an estimated audience of 1.8m people. Royal De Luxe Giant’s Journey in September 2014 attracted the largest audience ever assembled in Limerick for a single event with 230,000 people.
Welcoming the report, National City of Culture 2014 board chairman Pat Cox said it was evident that the 2014 programme not only promoted Limerick as a cultural centre but also improved its image, perception, supported social inclusion and boosted the region’s economic recovery.
“We have exceeded our expectations and the objectives and I’m confident that Limerick is now being looked at locally, nationally and internationally with a fresh eye after undergoing its very own renaissance as a result of this successful designation,” said Mr Cox.
“I’m also confident that the continuation of various cultural activities and community involvement is already generating a long term positive effect on the city and I wholeheartedly welcome this. Limerick can take confidence from it and can do so much more.”
Meanwhile, a separate social impact study also published this week revealed 364 new local partnerships were formed and 2,504 Limerick artists were employed in various projects as a result of the Limerick City of Culture 2014. The study’s findings show that 156 funded projects took place with 85 more supported in kind. It also shows that 1,630 performances and 2,589 exhibition days took place.
Limerick City and Council chief executive Conn Murray says it is now vital that Limerick grasps the momentum and ensures that the benefits generated from the successful hosting of the year long 2014 programme are maintained.
“Limerick was presented with a unique opportunity during 2014 to attract national and international attention and I’m particularly pleased with the feedback from the business community, the cultural vibrancy between practitioners and in communities, the scale and impact of the year and huge economic and social benefits that were generated,” he said.
“We are in the midst of preparing a bid to host the European Capital of Culture title for 2020 and the experience and knowledge gained by the organisation and management of more than 3000 events will no doubt be brought to bear by Limerick’s team in our bid for the European title,” Mr Murray concluded.