Waterford takes lead on Capital of Culture bid

Waterford city by night

Waterford city by night

Waterford City & County Councillors have supported a bid by the South East to become European Capital of Culture (ECOC) in 2020.

At the January plenary meeting of Waterford City & County Council, Director of Services Michael Quinn explained that Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny will jointly apply to hold the prestigious title, with Waterford to act as lead authority on the application.

“To show to the adjudicators that there is strong support, we’re asking the three local authorities to pass a Section 85 Agreement to give that leadership role to Waterford,” he said.

Fianna Fáil Cllr M J O’Ryan said he wholeheartedly agreed with the Section 85 Agreement (Local Government Act 2001) and commended the council for taking the lead on the project.

He said he hoped that this lead would be recognised when it would come to the time of hosting events if the bid was successful and that Waterford “wouldn’t be like Cinderella and not able to go to the ball”.

Fellow Fianna Fáil Councillor Eddie Mulligan inquired about the costs involved with the bid.

Mr Quinn explained that a briefing session was scheduled to take place for Councillors which would highlight the strategic benefits for the region and outline costs.

However, he said that the costs currently involved with the application process were “not hugely significant”.
“If successful, we would need national government support also,” he added.

Mr Quinn said Kilkenny County Council had already agreed to Waterford accepting lead responsibility.

Sinn Féin Cllr Pat Fitzgerald asked if there would be any competition for the ECOC title from within Ireland.
Mr Quinn explained that ECOC 2020 would be hosted in both Ireland and Croatia and that a number of Irish locations had already expressed interest.

“Dublin, Galway and Limerick are the three applicants we expect to be up against,” he explained.
“Cork has indicated it will not compete for 2020 as it had the title in 2005.”

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