Limerick City of Culture Chief Executive Patricia Ryan resigns

Monday 06 January 2014 12.57
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Patricia Ryan said it is important that a suitable successor is appointed
Patricia Ryan said it is important that a suitable successor is appointed
Limerick City of Culture Chairman Pat Cox said it was time to 'draw a line' under the events of recent days
Limerick City of Culture Chairman Pat Cox said it was time to 'draw a line' under the events of recent days
Jimmy Deenihan said he wants to ensure that a dynamic and substantial programme is delivered
Jimmy Deenihan said he wants to ensure that a dynamic and substantial programme is delivered

Limerick City of Culture's Chief Executive Patricia Ryan has resigned.

Ms Ryan said that speculation and commentary surrounding the events of recent days had regrettably compromised her authority and capacity to continue leading the City of Culture project.

Her resignation comes days after the resignation of the project's artistic director Karl Wallace.

Mr Wallace said his team had been sidelined in decision-making and claimed there had been a breakdown of communication between his team and Ms Ryan.

She said it is important that a suitable successor is appointed to lead the next important phase and to ensure the delivery of the programme and the project, which is vital to the re-branding of Limerick.

She said she wished the project every success.

Meanwhile, Limerick City of Culture Chairman Pat Cox said that "there is no question of more resignations".

He said that he is determined to move the project forward.

Speaking on RTÉ's Nine News, Mr Cox said it was time to "draw a line" under the events of recent days, which he described as "very challenging".

He said that there was no prospect of Mr Wallace being asked to return.

Mr Cox added that the "reset button" needed to be hit.

Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan thanked Ms Ryan for what he said was the considerable efforts that she had put into the project.

"I know that she has worked very hard to ensure that the year would be a successful one for Limerick, and I wish her well for the future."

"I have been in contact with the local authority and those managing the programme of events for the year," he added.

He said: "I plan to meet with representatives of the local authority and the board in the coming days, and I am also in contact with members of the local community."

Earlier, Mr Deenihan said he would be meeting the board of Limerick City of Culture, the city council and the arts community next week to try to ensure that a dynamic and substantial programme is delivered.

On RTÉ's This Week, he said it was important that all sides worked to get the project back on track as soon as possible.

Mr Deenihan also said he had asked Mr Cox to consider adding members of the artistic community in Limerick to the board.

He said prior to the Budget 2014, the Government had made a commitment to the board and the city council that the project would have funding that would match its programming and a figure of €6m was mentioned.

Resignation welcomed by some groups

The decision by Ms Ryan to resign has been welcomed by many in the artistic and cultural community in Limerick.

Professional Limerick Artists Network Chairperson John Greenwood said this was not a victory, but that it welcomed the resignation of Ms Ryan as something that had to be done. 

He said his organisation is available to support the project in all its capacity, and would like to talk to the board of the project and lend its expertise.

Mr Greenwood had called for the resignation of Ms Ryan and the board at a heated public meeting last Friday night.

He said they had completely lost the confidence of the artistic community.

Actor and theatre school director Richie Ryan, who had organised last Friday night's meeting in the city, said he believed Ms Ryan had no choice but to resign.

Helen O'Donnell, a leading member of the cultural and business community in Limerick, said she hopes the decision by Ms Ryan draws a line across the whole business up to now and the project can now move forward. 

She said it is unfortunate and sad for Ms Ryan, but that she had no choice.

In a statement this evening, the board of the City of Culture said it had accepted the resignation of Ms Ryan with regret. 

They said she had worked tirelessly with great professionalism and dedication in extremely challenging circumstances. 

They said they are putting in place arrangements to ensure the continued implementation of the programme and will announce a range of measures in the coming days. 

The board said Ms Ryan had agreed to work with the board to ensure a smooth transition and continuity.