Galway must deliver to draw 2020 funding

Galway 2020 must deliver on performance targets in order to draw-down €14.75 million in exchequer funding.

Minister for Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan said the Government has committed €15 million to Galway 2020 to deliver the European Capital of Culture project.

She said her department provided the first tranche of €250,000 towards Galway 2020 last December. That was to cover costs already incurred.

Minister Madigan said that Galway 2020 had spent some €750,000 in 2017, according to accounts of the Galway Cultural Development and Activity Company Limited by Guarantee, the legal structure set up to undertake all the activities of Galway 2020.

Of that expenditure, some €229,132 was spent on salaries, €240,921 on overheads, including rent of €39,788, and the remaining €279,076 was spent on programme costs. There is a balance of €14.75 million owing from her Department to Galway 2020.

“The balance of the €15m grant will be advanced to Galway 2020 through a performance delivery agreement which is currently being drafted,” said Minister Madigan.

“The Government’s support represents the largest single contribution to the overall cost of Galway 2020 as the European City of Culture, which is €45.7m. The balance of the funding is sourced from city and county local authorities, and commitments from business and sponsorship. The EU Commission’s award is €1.5m,” said Minister Madigan.

She was responding to a parliamentary question from Galway West TD, Catherine Connolly.

Meanwhile, in relation to the latest staff crisis at Galway 2020, in a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the Department of Culture said it “notes” the Creative Director Chris Baldwin is leaving the organisation by mutual agreement and it “notes” the announcement of three new cultural producers joining the team. It also noted that the Board of Galway 2020, “has reviewed the composition of the cultural leadership and will make a further announcement in this regard in the coming weeks.”

The Department’s statement pointed out that its contribution to Galway 2020 was “the largest single contribution to the overall cost” of the project and it added it “continues to work and support the Galway 2020 Company and its Board . . . to ensure that an ambitious plan is delivered”.

Asked if Minister Madigan had concerns about oversight of Galway 2020, the statement said: “In relation to the governance of the project, the Department is satisfied that the Board of Galway 2020 comprises a very broad range of expertise striking a balance between artistic and governance expertise.

“The Board is chaired by Aideen McGinley former Permanent Secretary of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland and who, as Chair of ILEX – the Regeneration Company for Derry/Londonderry – was instrumental in securing the inaugural UK City of Culture for Derry in 2013.

“The Department has a nominated representative on the Board, Declan McGonagle, former Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and former Director of the National College of Art and Design, who keeps the Department updated on progress on planning for the European City of Culture.”