Arts Council director Orlaith McBride’s contract to be extended

McBride’s is one of a number of high-profile culture contracts due to expire

Arts Council director Orlaith McBride. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Arts Council director Orlaith McBride. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons


The board of the Arts Council has received approval from the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys to offer a new contract to its current director, Orlaith McBride.

Ms McBride, a native of Ardara, Co Donegal, was first appointed to the position in June 2011 for a five-year term. She was an Arts Council board member from 2003 until 2011, and has a background in youth and community arts

In an internal email sent to Arts Council staff last Friday, the chair of the council, Sheila Pratschke, said: “I am thrilled to announce that, following a request by the council to the Minister for permission to extend the director’s contract, formal agreement has been received.

“Given the significant work associated with delivering ‘Making Great Art Work’ over the coming years, this is great news for us all as we work together to realise our shared strategy.”

“Making Great Art Work” is the title of the council’s 10-year strategic plan for the arts in Ireland up until 2025, proposing a vision “grounded in a sense of people and place, where the arts are truly valued as a vital feature of our daily lives and where ambitious and innovative artists are supported to make work of excellence”.

Ms McBride is only one of a number of high-profile chief executives of cultural institutions and agencies whose contracts expire soon.

The contracts of the Irish Film Board’s James Hickey and the National Concert Hall’s Simon Taylor both come to an end in 2016, while those of the National Gallery’s Seán Rainbird and Imma’s Sarah Glennie expire in 2017.

In response to a query from The Irish Times, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, which must approve all appointments at this level, indicated an extension or renewal of fixed-term contracts of this sort did not accrue any rights to permanency or other additional benefits for the holder of the office.