Heated meeting hears 2020 chief ask stakeholders to focus on delivering one of world’s top cultural events

Pictured at the "Their Lives Matter" Ball in the Galmont Hotel was Catherine Anne Field. Photo Sean Lydon.

Pictured at the "Their Lives Matter" Ball in the Galmont Hotel was Catherine Anne Field. Photo Sean Lydon.

The chief executive of Galway 2020 has this week called on all the stakeholders to focus on the bigger picture and help deliver what will be one of the world’s top cultural events.

In a presentation to a heated meeting of Galway City Council on Tuesday, Hannah Kiely assured the elected officials that Galway 2020 was firmly on track to achieve its milestones over the next two and a half years.

She said that like with any project of this scale, they have had to overcome some challenges along the way, but that they have not let these derail them from their purpose of delivering this fantastic opportunity for Galway.

Her address to the council came just a few weeks after creative director Chris Baldwin departed his role and after some concerns were raised about the recruitment process which has failed to see the appointment of a Commercial Director. It is also believed that RTE’s Prime Time programme are to air a programme about Galway 2020 next week.

However some councillors at the meeting stated they were not impressed with the quality of information they were being given, with Cllr Padraig Conneely saying he had zero confidence in the governance of the project, and Cllr Ollie Crowe labelling the presentation ‘ a charade.’

Ms Kiely told the councillors that since the company was established just 12 months ago they have recruited 15 highly experienced committed individuals for the Board.

“We have recruited some of the best and the brightest to work with us on the project. We have put in place the governance and structures to support the delivery of the highly ambitious Galway 2020 programme.

“Earlier this year we launched our first flagship programme ‘Small Towns Big Ideas’ and in May we announced the 52 projects that are receiving funding,” she said, adding that the team has also co-ordinated engagements with local, national and European political representatives, businesses and community groups to raise awareness and funds.

“While we have had to overcome some challenges along the way we have not let these derail us from our purpose of delivering this fantastic opportunity for Galway,” she said.

Ms Kiely said that her team was heartened that the board of Galway 2020 fully supports the management and staff in their efforts to present one of the most creative, inclusive and diverse European Capital of Culture activity programmes.

“While all projects are currently at ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ phase, I want to make it quite clear that the correct processes, funding structures and management frameworks are in place as the programme has moved from planning to implementation stage,” Ms Kiely stressed.

Over the next 12 months, Galway 2020 will focus on a comprehensive range of activities including the Galway 2020 – Creating the Legacy Conference (18-20 June 2018 ), finalising agreement for the delivery of the ambitious programme for Galway 2020, a series of ‘A Taste of Galway 2020’ local and national roadshows, launching ‘An Artist in Every Place’ flagship programme in October 2018, implementing the second funding call for ‘Small Towns Big Ideas’ in November 2018 as well as hosting international programme launches in early 2019.

Ms Kiely emphasised that the European Capital of Culture was one of the biggest cultural events in the world and it was important that all stakeholders work together to ensure its success. “I now call on all stakeholders to focus on ensuring Galway 2020 has the support and financial resources to showcase our county’s diverse culture and heritage on a global scale,” she concluded.

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