Limerick City of Culture to seek replacement after CEO resigns

Project has lost both its CEO, artistic director and event programmers in its first week

Chairman of the board of Limerick’s City of Culture Pat Cox pictured at a public meeting in the Clarion Hotel, Limerick. He said the project had yet to receive any of the €6 million promised to it by Government.

Chairman of the board of Limerick’s City of Culture Pat Cox pictured at a public meeting in the Clarion Hotel, Limerick. He said the project had yet to receive any of the €6 million promised to it by Government.

Mon, Jan 6, 2014, 07:21

Limerick City of Culture board members will decide today on how to replace its chief executive Patricia Ryan, who has resigned from the position.

Ms Ryan’s resignation yesterday has meant that the crisis-hit project has lost both its chief executive and artistic director Karl Wallace in its first week, together with two event programmers, Jo Mangan and Maeve McGrath.

Last night, City of Culture chairman Pat Cox said the project had yet to receive any of the €6 million promised to it by Government.

He said it was time to hit the “reset button to put in the necessary resources to complete the negotiations with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in finally securing funds for the City of Culture”.

The board has already pledged to publicly advertise the post of artistic director and will decide today whether to do the same with the position of chief executive.

Mr Cox ruled out Mr Wallace returning to his post.


Under pressure
The board will be under pressure to opt for a public competition, although Limerick county and city manager Conn Murray said Ms Ryan was appointed in November without one because there was not sufficient time to go through such a process.

Speaking last night, Mr Cox acknowledged lessons needed to be learned from how senior posts had been filled.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan admitted on RTÉ Radio 1’s This Week programme yesterday that he was not aware of Mr Wallace’s unhappiness with the way the City of Culture was being run.

He said he had read about his resignation in a newspaper. He will meet those involved this week.

Speaking in Saudi Arabia yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the €6 million provided by the Government for the City of Culture project was a “massive opportunity” for Limerick to show it is on the road to a “new future”.


Cronyism
Ms Ryan was an adviser to the former European Parliament president Pat Cox. * Her appointment led to allegations of cronyism.

Last Friday she said he would remain on as chief executive of the City of Culture, despite many members of the local arts community making clear at a public meeting that they wanted her to resign.

However, she changed her mind yesterday and tendered her resignation.

She will remain on in a temporary capacity until a new chief executive is appointed and she will not receive any financial settlement for leaving her post early.

 

* This article was amended on January 6th 2013 to correct a factual error

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