The request of an extra €2.5 million in funding by Galway 2020 from the Galway City Council has been criticised by city councillors.
The project officially launches on Saturday February 8 at an event in South Park, Claddagh, councillors were asked to grant €1.25 million in 2021 and 2022 in order to facilitate the delivery of additional programme elements in the city and the development of legacy initiatives at a special meeting on Monday at City Hall.
With the local authority having already provided €6 million for Galway 2020, councillors raised concerns over why the project was requesting more funding and how it would be allocated.
Fianna Fáil councillor Peter Keane described the timing of the application as “disturbing” and questioned whether debt would be incurred from the programme.
He said; “I think it quite disturbing, this late in the day, a week from opening ceremony, [that Galway 2020] is asking for €2.5 million. I am concerned from where this funding is coming. It is a spend which has to be recouped somehow.
“We talk about legacy, no doubt there would be a magnificent legacy left by Galway 2020 if there was no more funding. [If the council grant more funding] There will be a legacy and that is debt. If the bid book is funded then that is enough. Our mandate is to protect those who fund this city.”
Galway city central councillor Eddie Hoare questioned for what the funding would be used. Cllr Hoare said; “[For these projects, Galway city council] is like the bank of Galway city. We have a 36 page document and the only figure in it is €2.5 million. There should be a full costing of where the money should be going. We should be issued with financial statements. My fear is the €2.5 million is not being used for legacy but to make up for lack of fundraising.”
Cllr Pauline O’Reilly said it was “outrageous” that the local authority was being asked to give €2.5 million to Galway 2020 considering the city’s homeless figures.
Cllr Mike Crowe asked if the council was “bailing out” Galway 2020 and if the programme’s officials would be going back to the council for more funding later in the year.
In response to the councillors’ concerns chief executive of the Galway City Council Brendan McGrath told the chamber that while he did not have a full breakdown cost of the requested allocation, €600,000 would be spent on seconded city council staff who would be working for Galway 2020.
He also informed councillors that the events in the bid book were fully funded and no debt would be incurred by the local authority for the running of these events.
However, councillors demanded further financial detail and voted to defer a decision on the funding until February’s monthly meeting.