Wednesday 21 February 2018

Concert promoter 'furious' after NCH's board snub


Mild-mannered promoter Pat Egan, who has spent an estimated €300,000 hiring out the National Concert Hall over the last two years, wasn't even called for interview when he applied for a position on the 14-strong board.

The National Concert Hall, in Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin, is about to appoint a board of 14 people to run an organisation that was subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of €2.5m last year.

Although it hasn't been publicly announced, the new board is believed to include journalist Bruce Arnold; Ray Bates, who formerly ran the National Lottery; Gena Menzies, a theologian and RTE commentator; and Pat Heneghan, a prominent Fine Gael strategist. It is also expected to include John McGrane of Ulster Bank, schoolteacher Patricia Slavin and Deborah Kelleher, of the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

"I've nothing against any of them," said Mr Egan yesterday.

"I don't feel that because I am in the business I am entitled to a seat on the board, but I do feel that after they asked for people with suitable experience to apply they could have at least called me for interview."

After RTE, Egan is the biggest booker of the National Concert Hall (NCH) and has 10 shows booked in for this year.

"I just feel it is unfair, especially since they did ask for people with experience to apply and then to be completely ignored. I also believe that four or five other professional promoters applied, but none were appointed to the board."

He has also written to Wasters author and TD for Dublin South, Shane Ross, telling him: "My company is the largest independent hirer of the NCH and I am involved on a day-to-day basis with artist management and booking in all the main concert venues in Ireland.

"Having looked at the newly appointed board members, I can safely say that there is no one with the experience and day-to-day involvement in the entertainment business who comes anywhere near what I have to offer. If I believed there was, I would not be writing this letter and would accept without question that the minister had made a sound decision in the commercial interest of the NCH."

In a separate development, Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Minister Pat Rabbitte has just signed off on a new 60-person quango called the National Inland Fisheries Forum. A spokesman for the minister said the forum was included in legislation and members, who would advise Inland Fisheries Ireland, will not be paid a fee, although they will be able to claim expenses for travelling to meetings.

Sunday Independent

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