Galway 2020 forced to lay off staff and part with creative director

Coronavirus pandemic and restrictions will result in a 'contracted programme of events" later in the year

Galway 2020 has been forced to lay off staff, and "bring to an end" to its contract with Artichoke and creative director Helen Marriage, due to the impact COVID-19 is having on arts events and programming.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Galway 2020, said the "necessary restrictions" put in place in relation to combat the spread of coronavirus means the organisation has had to "consider the future" of the already impacted 2020 programme.

Galway 2020 has been in consultation with the European Commission, the Department of Culture, the Galway city and county councils, sponsors, and those who were to be featured in the programme, with a view to presenting a "contracted programme of events" later in the year, once the pandemic has passed.

"We have begun the process of communicating with those partners whose projects will not be included in the contracted programme," said the statement, "and are engaging with those partners whose projects, albeit reimagined, we hope will be included."

'It is important to state that decisions we take now are the only course of action we can responsibly take in the current circumstances'

However, the pandemic has also resulted in the implementation of a three-week temporary layoff programme "for all but a skeleton staff", effective from today, as well as the "very difficult decision" to bring to an end to the contract with Artichoke.

"We are very disappointed to have had to make these decisions," said the statement. "Galway 2020 wishes to acknowledge and thank all staff, and in particular, creative director Helen Marriage and the team at Artichoke, for their hard work and commitment. Helen had curated an extraordinary cultural programme of events, which would have provided many amazing cultural moments and experiences for local people across Galway city and county."

Speaking on behalf of the Board, Galway 2020 chair Arthur Lappin said: "Circumstances arising from the Coronavirus emergency pose significant new challenges, financial and temporal, which will inevitably give rise to undesired and painful alterations to our plans. It is important to state that decisions we take now are the only course of action we can responsibly take in the current circumstances."


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