Limerick City of Culture interim head appointed

Tuesday 07 January 2014 22.01
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Mike Fitzpatrick's appointment was announced this afternoon
Mike Fitzpatrick's appointment was announced this afternoon
Project Chairman Pat Cox said the show would go on
Project Chairman Pat Cox said the show would go on
Project chief executive Patricia Ryan resigned earlier this month
Project chief executive Patricia Ryan resigned earlier this month

Limerick Chamber has welcomed the appointment of academic and arts curator Mike Fitzpatrick as interim head of the Limerick City of Culture project.

The appointment of Mr Fitzpatrick, who is Head of the Limerick School of Art & Design, was announced this afternoon.

He is set to take over following the resignations of the project chief executive, Patricia Ryan, and artistic director Karl Wallace.

A row began after Mr Wallace said he was not being properly consulted. It also emerged that Ms Ryan was appointed without public consultation.

Limerick City of Culture Chairman Pat Cox said Mr Fitzpatrick will take up his responsibilities with immediate effect and may serve for a period of up to ten weeks.

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One, Mr Cox said every effort was being made to help the festival recover from recent controversies.

He said: "The three key elements today are the appointment of a senior credible person through an institutional collaboration.

"The second dimension is that last night the city of culture through Limerick corporation signed the heads of agreement on the whole financial procedure for the year, which is a major advance.

"The third element is that we are going to broaden the base of our board to respond to the cultural communities’ desire for a more active board level engagement," he added.

He said that nominees to succeed Mr Fitzpatrick should be in place by 17 January and the focus now was on making the right choices rather than rushing to judgement.

Mr Cox said the show would go on and that Mr Fitzpatrick enjoyed the full support of everyone involved.

In a statement, Limerick Chamber said Mr Fitzpatrick is a well-respected academic and curator in the arts world.

It said: "He has a wealth of international experience and an impeccable track record of driving art institutions, exhibitions, and galleries at a world class level."

The Chamber also said it remains strongly supportive of the City of Culture project and "its vision to enhance a vibrant city recognised nationally and internationally as a cultural centre".