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Saturday 16 December 2017

I guessed city's culture chief would quit, says actor Ryan

Patricia Ryan. Photo: Tom Burke
Patricia Ryan. Photo: Tom Burke

Barry Duggan

The former CEO of Limerick City of Culture has spoken to gardai about claims that her phone was hacked.

The Irish Independent revealed yesterday that Patricia Ryan feared that her mobile phone messages had been intercepted after news of her resignation was announced online, by another party.

News that Ms Ryan was stepping down was announced online by actor Richard Ryan, who now wants to become the interim artistic director following the departure of Karl Wallace, who stepped down last week.

Mr Ryan told this newspaper that his internet posting was an "informed and intelligent guess".

Ms Ryan said last night that despite her departure, she hoped the event would be a success.

"I want it to succeed 100pc and I believe it will," she said.

"A lot of people have worked hard and continue to work hard to make sure that Limerick benefits from this great opportunity," she said.

Ms Ryan met with gardai at Limerick's Henry Street station about her phone-hacking fears yesterday, although a formal investigation has not yet begun.

It was revealed on a Facebook page on Sunday that an announcement regarding her position was forthcoming.

She had only informed her immediate family and it is feared that a voicemail left by a family members indicating that a statement regarding her resignation was about to be released was accessed by a third party.

It is understood that any garda investigation into phone hacking would be a lengthy process.

An official complaint must be lodged for a formal investigation to be launched.


Mr Ryan, who chaired a meeting where up to 300 members of the artistic community vented their anger at Ms Ryan, has said his posting on Facebook that a resignation announcement from the former CEO was imminent, was based on guesswork.

He told the Irish Independent that it was an "informed and intelligent guess" and he had had no contact with anyone regarding the matter.

The online posting came before any statement regarding Ms Ryan's resignation had been released to the public.

Just before 3pm on Sunday, Mr Ryan posted on his Facebook page: "It is quite obvious that Patricia Ryan has decided to. . . Wait for it. . . Breaking news here in ONE HOUR. . . watch this page for exclusive update."

Almost 15 minutes later Mr Ryan posted: "Just waiting for the latest announcement. It is in progress as I type."

At 4.18pm, a statement was issued to the media on behalf of Ms Ryan announcing her decision to resign.

In response to his posting, Richard Ryan said there were more "important things" at stake.

"Will I tell you what that was? It was an intelligent guess.

"I am saying I had no conversation with anybody with regard to anything with regard to Patricia Ryan resigning or not.

"In my opinion she had no alternative but to resign and I was putting up . . . if you read that very carefully, you will see what I was saying. The dots are very important.

"What I was saying is that I was making a very intelligent guess that this lady was going to go. She was going to go on Sunday. She wasn't going to wait until Monday.

"I didn't know. I had no inclination whatsoever or no information should I say from anybody with regard to anybody making contact with me.

"It was an informed and intelligent guess. You can quote me all you like on that and that is what it was," Mr Ryan said.

Richard Ryan is well-known among Limerick's artistic community and runs the CentreStage Theatre School in the city.

Following last week's resignation of Karl Wallace, Mr Ryan has offered to work as "artistic director on a voluntary/pro-bono basis until the newly configured board of directors appoints a new suitable artistic director through due diligence".

Chairman of the Limerick City of Culture Pat Cox has ruled out any return for Mr Wallace.

"There is no going back, we have drawn a line," he said.

Mr Cox said the board would consider all options and one consideration may be to have one person instead of two.

"We need to have some discussion on this to get the balance right.

"I want to hear people out, good people. It's not that I have a particular view at this stage but it is about getting it right," Mr Cox said.

Irish Independent

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