A budget of around €20 million will be required for a successful bid for the European Capital of Culture 2020, according to Galway city manager Brendan McGrath who assurred supportive councillors this week that the title will have “huge positive implications for Galway” for years to come.
Speaking at Monday’s meeting of the council where councillors unanimously agreed to proceed with the bid, Mr McGrath said: “This is the most important topic this evening. The Capital of Culture concept highlights richness and diversity. Galway is a maritime city, it is the city of the Tribes, there is the Gaeltacht right on our doorstep with its richness of language and culture, and that is an integral part. There is a capacity to secure long-term investment. Once we secure the title we have it forever. It can drive aspects of this city way beyond 2020. It can turn Galway into a bold, inpirational, sustainable city which is a significant European cultural destination.”
Mr McGrath further explained there will be a need for an extended and enhanced programme of events building on what Galway already holds and that a substantial budget in the region of €20 million will be required. A sum of €20,000 was already been set aside in the 2014 Budget. It is understood that the tendering process for a team of specialist consultants is to begin as early as next week and that the submission will have to be made in less than 10 months from now.
“It’s something we are very serious about winning. We were very close in 2005. Galway has an offering which is second to none, the bid requires us to pull all of that together. By the latter part of 2015 I hope that Galway will be out making the bid in Brussels. The Volvo [Ocean Race] bid opportunity is also in 2020. What a bang it will be to have both. In 2018 there is the possibility of the Tall Ships coming to Galway. This city has shown it can take on major events and deliver. The bid must be in by the end of the year,” explained Mr McGrath, before adding there is a need to address the lack of visual arts space in the city and a public consultation process will take place.
Cllr Billy Cameron pointed out that the budget for Cork for its successful bid was “colossal” with the Government providing €7.1 million. “Will we be getting similar grant aid? I’m hoping we will put in a submission that will be successful. I’d hate to lose out on it. We won’t have a shot again until 2035,” said Cllr Cameron.
“Once you’re the preferred bidder and succeed you hold that status,” said Cllr Tom Costello who called on everyone, not just City Hall, “to come on board, put their hand in their pocket, and support it”. Echoing this, Cllr Donal Lyons said it is very important that the business community get behind it. Cllr Lyons added: “Eight million euro was put up locally in Cork. During the Volvo Ocean Race there was a reluctance from some [of the business community] to come on board. We need to put every possible effort into this.”