Readers may recall that a few years ago Waterford, Kilkenny and Wexford came together as the ‘Three Sisters Region’ in a bid to win the title European Capital of Culture for 2020.
A European Capital of Culture (ECOC) is a region chosen by the EU to host a year-long programme of events that reflect the richness and diversity of culture in Europe.
Our bid was impressive but in 2016 Galway won the bid and it will be European Capital of Culture in 2020.
Well, so far it doesn’t seem to be going too smoothly for Galway 2020 as, last week, a former mayor of the city said he was worried that it would all end in tears.
Councillor Pádraig Conneely of Fine Gael, the current Chairman of Galway’s Arts and Culture Strategic Policy Committee, said he was concerned about the capability of the operating company’s set-up to deliver on its promise of a year-long series of cultural events. Councillor Conneely also pointed out that the City Council had paid out over €2m but, so far, the County Council had only paid €0.5m.
However, the chief executive of the City Council and Galway 2020 board member, Brendan McGrath, said 2020 would be the best thing that ever happened to the city and county.
There was a planned budget of €45m to be pumped into local arts and culture to achieve its mandate. Galway would be representing Ireland on the European and international stage and it would leave a lasting legacy.
Hopefully, Mr McGrath is correct and the present difficulties are of the temporary variety.