Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan has said he was aware that there were problems with the City of Culture project but he never thought this would result in resignations.

Mr Deenihan has given his first media interview in Limerick since the crisis, which saw four senior personnel resign.

The minister said he did not know when he attended the New Year's Eve event that artistic director Karl Wallace was going to announce his resignation the following day.

Mr Deenihan said while he accepts responsibility for launching the City of Culture project and designating Limerick as the first national city, he had nothing to do with programming, human resources, or appointments.

He accepted he had been informed of some events in the crisis through the media, but that otherwise he kept himself very well informed.

He said his department had a representative on the board of the project who had left a month ago, but the department will be represented on the enlarged board.

Mr Deenihan said his priority now was to ensure that the City of Culture receives the €6m designated to it, and that the money is properly spent to encourage a successful year.