Irish News

Thursday 10 July 2014

More drama unfolds as Limerick City of Culture CEO expected to resign

KATHRYN HAYES

Published 05/01/2014|16:26

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Patricia Ryan, CEO of Limerick City Of Culture pictured at the public meeting in the Clarion Hotel, Limerick of almost 600 people this evening following the shock resignation of its artistic director Karl Wallace. Pic. Brian Arthur/ Press 22.
Patricia Ryan, CEO of Limerick City Of Culture pictured at the public meeting in the Clarion Hotel, Limerick of almost 600 people this evening following the shock resignation of its artistic director Karl Wallace. Pic. Brian Arthur/ Press 22.

Embattled Limerick City of Culture boss Patricia Ryan is expected to resign from her position as CEO later today it has emerged.

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An official statement  is expected in the next few hours.

Controversy surrounding Ms Ryan's appointment to the €120,000 position has failed to abate since it emerged the 18month contract was not advertised.

The issue came to a head following the resignation of Artistic Director Karl Wallace and two programmers last week.

International programmer Jo Mangan and commissioning and legacy programer Maeve McGrath, were both contracted to provide service for City of Culture.

Mr Wallace who said his position on the board was "untenable".

Heated calls for Mr Ryans resignation were made at a mass meeting of the artistic community attended by the CEO and Pat Cox The chairman of the Board of  Limerick City of Culture last Friday night.

Following the meeting Ms Ryan admitted the criticism was "tough to listen to" but insisted she would not be stepping down.

"People that shout the loudest aren't always the majority, can I just say that," she added. 

When asked if she would be happy to see Karl Wallace who who resigned as artistic director return to his position she said "that was a matter for Karl, Karl resigned".

Mr Cox also insisted that he won't be resigning from his voluntary position as chairman of the Board.

"I know there are those who would like to see me fold in the face of criticism but I am determined to see this through," Mr Cox said.

A former adviser to Pat Cox, Ms Ryan is a native of Limerick and has also worked as an advisor to Mary Harney when she was Minister for Health.

Limerick City and County Manager Conn Murray who recommended Ms Ryan for the post has defended the appointment.

Mr Murray insists he used a process which is "highly acceptable in context of the private sector" to ensure the most appropriate person was put in place to do the job.

In a statement after his resignation, Karl Wallace, a former director of Limerick's Belltable Arts Centre, said: “We grew to realise that the roles of artistic director and those of the programming team would no longer be central to the City of Culture year, as the event progressed under new management.

"While I regret making an early departure I can no longer stand over a project that I have concerns about, concerns that have been repeatedly aired but not addressed."

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