Several hundred people packed into a very heated, and at times angry public meeting in Limerick attended by members of the artistic community as well as the City of Culture board and Chairman Pat Cox.

It came in the wake of the resignation of Karl Wallace as Artistic Director of the Project. 

Pat Cox said Mr Wallace’s resignation was not anticipated, expected or wished for and it was a very serious bump in the road.

But he said he and the board were determined to deliver on the City of Culture project.

He said they would move to appoint a new Artistic Director in a week, and invite members of the artistic community to join as board members.

But several speakers received applause as they said there had been a complete breakdown in trust between the board, the chairman Mr Cox and the wider artistic community.

Speakers also criticised the manner in which CEO Patricia Ryan was appointed without a public competition, and said the crux of the mistrust was this appointment.

Ms Ryan is a former political aide of Pat Cox's.

Mr Cox said there had been absolutely no solicitation whatsoever by him in the appointment of Ms Ryan.

He said she left his employment as an aide in Brussels over 10 years ago.

Limerick City Manager Conn Murray also refuted the suggestion that Ms Ryan’s appointment was a political one. He said those accusations were untrue.

He said he engaged in a process of appointment and that five people were interviewed for the job, but refused calls to name them. 

Patricia Ryan said she was a native Limerick woman who had been employed as a project manager, and not as an artistic director. She appealed to people to work with her.

Mr Cox said he would reflect on what had been said in a considered way, but the board was determined to continue with its programme as devised.