Culture Clash

Reginalds Tower in Waterford.

Reginalds Tower in Waterford.

Wexford Mayor questions Waterford’s lead role in Capital of Culture bid.

WATERFORD’S lead on the 2020 European Capital of Culture bid by the South East has been challenged by the Mayor of Wexford.

A bid by Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny for the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture 2020 was formally launched at the Medieval Museum last month with representatives from each of the three local authorities in attendance.

However, at the February meeting of Wexford County Council, the decision to allow Waterford to take the lead on the bid was met with some resistance.

Mayor of Wexford George Lawlor (Labour) stated that Wexford was “far ahead in terms of culture”, pointing out that Waterford’s Light Opera Festival had been allowed to lapse while his home town had been staging an internationally renowned opera festival for six decades.

Director of Services Tony Larkin explained to Councillors that the Capital of Culture application process demands that the bid must be made in the name of a city.

It was also stated that Waterford had the personnel to take the lead on the application.

European Capital of Culture 2020 will be hosted in both Ireland and Croatia, with strong bids expected from Dublin, Limerick and Galway.

Speaking to The Munster Express, Mayor Lawlor reiterated his assertion that Wexford had plenty to offer in terms of culture.

“Wexford town is home to the Wexford Opera House and has been home to the Wexford Light Opera Festival for the past 63 years,” he said.

“People travel from all over the world to take part and to be in the audience,” he added.

He also highlighted a number of prestigious Wexford writers, including Eoin Colfer, John Banville, Colm Tóibín and Billy Roche.

“I felt Wexford had the credentials to take the lead and that Wexford was being slightly usurped by Waterford,” he explained.

Cllr Lawlor said he was now happy to support Waterford after being informed that the bid had to be made in the name of a city.

“I wasn’t trying to slight our cousins in Waterford,” he said, adding that his wife hails from the Déise.
While he accepts Waterford’s lead on the Capital of Culture application, Mayor Lawlor said he expects Wexford’s hurlers to beat Waterford once again this year.

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