Galway progressing in its bid to become European Capital of Culture

Galway’s bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2020 was raised at this weeks meeting of the Galway City Council.

The designation celebrates Europe’s cultural diversity with two member States, Ireland and Croatia, sharing the 2020 title.

It was announced in June that a team from NUI Galway had been awarded the tender to prepare the bid, however a number of councillors expressed concern on Monday evening that the process has not yet been advertised by the Government. There is a possibility that Limerick, Sligo, Waterford and Kilkenny will be competitors for the international designation.

Galway city CEO Brendan McGrath outlined how he visited Brussels for a schedule of meetings regarding funding opportunities for the event and in relation to the general funding of arts in the city. He also outlined how he met a team from Croatia while in Brussels. ‘’It wins you marks in the bidding process to have met with potential partners.’’

Mr McGrath said he was aware of concerns within the European Commission that Ireland had not yet moved to formalise the bidding process, but it was confirmed that this would happen in the near future.

He also re-iterated that a huge effort was needed over the next number of months to secure the bid.

Councillor Neil McNeilus said it was imperative that everybody gets behind this issue, and described the on-going work as ‘’Galway’s Olympic bid’’.

Mayor of Galway, Councillor Donal Lyons, outlined how he had sent a letter to the Arts Minister, Heather Humphries, asking that the bid process be formally advertised, and it is hoped that within the next two weeks the Taoiseach will bring a memorandum to Government seeking applications within Ireland for the European Capital of Culture. ‘’In 2001/2 when I was last mayor, we had an opportunity to bid for the Capital of Cuture title in 2005 and we lost out on a split decision. In fairness to the CEO Brendan McGrath, this time round, he has put an exceptional team in place from NUIG who are working heavily on the bid for the past number of months. A huge amount of money has been set aside in next year’s budget to progress the bid. It is a massive undertaking but at least now we are being led to believe that we will soon be able to submit the formal application.’’ The initial bid must be submitted within 10 months of the call for submissions, and final selection will take place in late 2015. Councillor Lyons has always been a huge supporter of Galway becoming European Capital of Culture, not only because he believes ‘’it would be a great event to host, but Galway would always have the legacy of this.’’

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