2020: Galway moves on to next phase of preparations

Management of Galway’s European Capital of Culture project have moved to an ‘exhaustive’ process of preparing the city and county for 2020.

City Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said the designation is of such importance to Galway, the team will be involved in a “significant body of work” in the coming months to draw up a delivery strategy.

He said the win has the potential to effect a “step change” in the economy of the city and wider region.

Mr McGrath again thanked the city’s business community for accepting a 3% increase in commercial rates last year – which raised more than €1 million toward the 2020 ‘bid’.

The judging panel also “applauded” the local business community for backing the unprecedented move.

Mr McGrath said: “Galway 2020’s journey now enters a new stage – we are shifting our focus from the bidding stage to delivery and implementation.

“The importance and potential of the Galway 2020 project is such that we need to make absolutely certain that a robust and fit-for-purpose delivery strategy and structure is in place to effectively, independently and transparently deliver the project.

“While we have set out the broad strategy in the bid book, for the next number of months we will work on putting in place the processes, operational structures and partnerships required to deliver a European Capital of Culture our entire country can be proud of. As you can appreciate, this is a significant body of work.

“There is absolutely no doubt that Galway’s designation as ECOC has the potential to effect a step-change in the economic development of the city, county and wider region, and to generate a lasting legacy which will benefit future generations.

“The pivotal role played by the support from the business sector in securing the designation cannot be understated.

“The European Selection Panel were particularly impressed by the significant commitment of the Galway business community in implementing a 3% increase in commercial rates to specifically support the ECOC process, as this was an unprecedented step, not seen before in a bidding city in the history of the competition.

“It shows a very deep and genuine level of support, and indeed, the panel referenced this support twice in its final report and ‘applauded the local business community’ for its support.

“Coupled with the tremendous support in pledged sponsorship from local businesses, this buy-in made for a very credible and compelling bid, underpinned by sound finances and management structures,” said Mr McGrath.