Disappointment at Limerick resignations

Friday 03 January 2014 10.16
Members of Limerick's artistic community have expressed support for Karl Wallace
Members of Limerick's artistic community have expressed support for Karl Wallace

Artistic director of Limerick City of Culture Karl Wallace has resigned, citing difficulties in communication and being sidelined in decision-making.

Mr Wallace, a former director of the Belltable Theatre in Limerick and Siamsa Tire in Tralee, was appointed Artistic Director of Limerick City of Culture 2014 last May.

In a statement Mr Wallace said he resigned when the City of Culture project began to take a different direction, and when requested resources and expertise were not forthcoming.

“We grew to realise that the roles of artistic director and those of the programming team would no longer be central to the City of Culture year, as the event progressed under new management,” he said.   

“While I regret making an early departure I can no longer stand over a project that I have concerns about, concerns that have been repeatedly aired but not addressed."

Mr Wallace added that he had operated in an open and transparent way, abiding by the rules of good practise.

His appointment was well-received as he is well-known and respected among the artistic community in Limerick.

However, the City of Culture project has been shrouded in controversy since last November, when Patricia Ryan, a former political aide to Limerick City of Culture Board Chairman Pat Cox was appointed as CEO, without public competition.

Her appointment was defended by Limerick City Manager Conn Murray, who cited time and budget difficulties in getting an executive of Ms Ryan's experience in place quickly.

Rumours of unhappiness in the team, in particular by Mr Wallace, have been circulating for weeks and today his resignation as Artistic Director was confirmed, along with the resignation of two other programme contractors, Jo Mangan and Maeve McGrath.

Members of the artistic community met Mr Wallace this morning and expressed their support for his work so far, and their disappointment at his decision to resign.

Board insists projects on track

In a statement, the board chairman said: "We will be taking stock of resourcing requirements in light of these decisions and will strengthen our team accordingly.

Mr Cox added that "in the meantime, all projects and funding committed to are very much on track.

"Our focus will continue to be on making sure the momentum already built up and the value and entertainment level for all attending events across Limerick this year is at the highest possible level."