Galway 20/20 – time for action
Sir, – The Galway 20/20 debacle is on the point of turning into a full-scale disaster, doing untold damage to the city’s deserved reputation as a place of excellence in the arts. As the ripples widen, we can confidently, and sadly, predict extensive damage to cultural tourism in the wider Connacht catchment area, and in the final analysis unquantifiable damage to Ireland’s reputation as a competent and encouraging country where the arts are truly and properly resourced and supported. This at a time when the Taoiseach has repeatedly stated that he places a premium on the ability of the arts to make a major contribution socially and economically to the national life and to Ireland’s international reputation. It seems to me that the moment is here for the Government bluntly and forcefully to knock heads together.
We have in Galway a large number of gifted and highly competent artists and arts organisations, together with tried and tested administrators with whom those artists and organisations have over decades built up relationships of mutual confidence. The board of 20/20 should be strongly and directly “encouraged” to convene with all speed an assembly of these artists and administrators, chaired by a competent mediator, with a view to securing from the assembly the name of a person in whom they have confidence, to be named artistic director. The only thing that can bring 20/20 back from the brink now is what should of course have been in place from the outset, the full and welcomed participation of the city’s artists, working with a person or persons they can trust. That nobody on the board appears to understand this explains a great deal. That sponsors should be reluctant to come forward is unsurprising, in that nobody as yet has come up with a programme they can confidently support. That the Government should fail to grasp the opportunity to rectify matters would be unforgivable. – Yours, etc,