Monday 23 July 2018

Council set to meet with Sligo Live over its funding concerns

Sorcha Crowley

Sligo Live has urgently sought more funding from Sligo County Council’s 2018 Arts Scheme in a bid to expand the festival out to a fortnight this year.

It has been provisionally proposed by the Council to grant the music festival 8,000 euro funding from the 2018 Contributions to the Arts Scheme.

The Council has agreed to defer the approval of the scheme to give the Executive more time to come up with other funding sources.

It’s after lengthy heated debate by Cllrs Tom MacSharry and Hubert Keaney. Cllr MacSharry argued that the proposed allocation of 8,000 euro “won’t meet their needs and will jeopardise the festival.” He said their funding from the Council had been reduced by 52,000 this year to just 8,000 euro.

He pointed to the fact that Sligo Live organiser Rory O’Connor was present in the public chamber and was urgently seeking a meeting with the Cathaoirleach and the Executive and any other council members.

Cllr MacSharry proposed postponing the approval of the Arts Scheme until a solution could be found to provide Sligo Live with more funding this year.

Councillor Hubert Keaney lobbied on behalf of the Model Niland, which the Council only proposed to fund with 3,000 under the scheme this year.

Cllr Keaney said the Model got substantial funding from the Arts Council but this was calculated on the funding they got from the Council.

“It’s going to substantially decrease the amount of funding from the Arts Council by 30,000-50,000 euro,” he told the meeting.

“I would plead with the members to correct this,” he said. “It’s 3,000 but it’s vital because of the match-funding it brings in,” he added.

There was strong opposition from several council members, such as Cllrs Margaret Gormley and Declan Bree, Keith Henry and Joe Queenan, who felt that the rest of the small community festivals should not have to wait to learn their funding allocations for another month just because of two larger events/ festivals.

However, others, including Cllrs Rosaleen O’Grady and Marie Casserly appealed to members to defer the decision for a month to allow a solution be worked out for Sligo Live and the Model.

The matter went to a vote and nine voted against Cllr Margaret Gormley’s motion to approve the arts grants, with six in favour. It was agreed to put the matter on the March agenda and Chief Executive Ciaran Hayes agreed to meet with the board of Sligo Live in the next fortnight to find a solution to their funding problem.

Sligo Champion