Downes to leave Culture Ireland


THE DEPARTMENT of Arts yesterday confirmed Eugene Downes will step down as chief executive of Culture Ireland when his contract expires later this month.

Culture Ireland is the national body for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide. In March, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin announced the functions of Culture Ireland are to be incorporated into the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

A spokeswoman for the department said Mr Downes would complete his five-year fixed-term contract on May 27th. She said Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan had paid tribute to Mr Downes and thanked him for the “extraordinary commitment” he had shown in promoting Irish culture and creativity on the global stage.

Speaking yesterday Mr Downes said it had been a “privilege” to serve as the founding chief executive of the organisation and he “immensely enjoyed working with the small, dedicated team” in Culture Ireland. “I’m very proud of what we have achieved in the last five years – building a new strategic capability to promote Irish artists internationally, and bringing Ireland’s global cultural reputation to a new level,” he said.

He thanked successive ministers for the arts and boards of Culture Ireland for their support. He also wished the Minister for Arts and his department “every success at this key time in reaching a positive outcome to the critical review of Culture Ireland. I look forward to new opportunities in the international arts world,” he said.