Limerick AAA Statement on City of Culture

  • Call for new, representative committee to run City of Culture events

  • Focus should be celebrating local artists and culture, not corporate ‘rebranding’

  • Committee should be made up of representatives of the artistic community, cultural groups and broader Limerick public

Limerick City East Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA) candidate Derrick Towell, who is a studio member in ARC (Artist Resource Centre) on Lower Glentworth Street and former employee of Limerick City Gallery of Art and the Belltable said:

“It is very unfortunate that cronyism and elitism have marred the launch of the 2014 Limerick City of Culture. Far from being run by a board of political appointees, corporate reps and officials,  the artistic community, historical and other cultural societies and the broader community should be at the very heart of it, with truly democratic structures.I object to Ms Ryan and Mr Cox’s snobbish focus on ‘rebranding Limerick’, as if this is some sort of corporate event, rather than what it should be: a celebration of local artists, communities and culture. It is not too late, however, and such a celebration, complete with a new, representative structure should now be put in place, to grasp the opportunities that exist to make 2014 a transformative year for Limerick.”

Limerick City West AAA candidate John Loftus, who is a photographer and attended the open City of Culture organising meetings last year said:

“The events of the last days, unfortunately, is chickens coming home to roost. From the beginning, the organising of the City of Culture events has been dominated not by ordinary people and the artistic community, but by the so-called ‘great and the good’ . The appointment of former Progressive Democrat Pat Cox as Chairperson and the now infamous employment of his assistant Patricia Ryan as CEO on a salary of over €100,000 was a real eye opener for many as to how this event was to be run. It seemed to me that their focus was on one or two big corporate events, rather than on using this year to link in with the artistic community and be a launch pad for Limerick as a cultural hub.

Limerick City North AAA candidate Cian Prendiville said:

“With the resignation of Karl Wallace and his team, the artistic community of Limerick had enough. Sick of being out in the cold, last Friday they stormed the stage and demanded that they be properly involved in the years events. This is something I completely supported, and myself along with others from the AAA attended and spoke at that electric meeting. The proposed changes to the board are to be welcomed, however removing one person or adding another is not enough. We need an overhaul in how the years events are organised. A democratically elected committee, with representatives of the artistic community, cultural groups and the broader public should be constituted now to run the events.