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Council chief says Galway 2020 communications were ‘badly offside’


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Council chief says Galway 2020 communications were ‘badly offside’

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council’s Chief Executive Brendan McGrath has conceded that Galway 2020’s communications strategy was ‘badly offside’, which contributed to the problems that dogged the European Capital of Culture project.

But in a monologue that lasted more than 45 minutes at Monday’s City Council meeting, Mr McGrath (pictured) staunchly defended Galway 2020, the company that delivered the programme of events for Galway City and County’s joint designation.

In response to questions by councillors – during the first debate since Galway’s Capital of Culture designation officially ended in April 2021 – Mr McGrath strongly rejected any suggestion that the company was ‘hiding’ anything.

He insisted accountability and governance of the entity was ‘very robust’, and that it had the highest standards of ‘due diligence and governance’.

He provided elected members with 37 documents prior to the meeting, including the bid book, monitoring reports, audited financial statements, evaluation reports, and quarterly Service Level Agreement reports.

In another nod to transparency, dozens more documents were made available on Galway 2020’s website, for the public to scrutinise, he said.

A board member of Galway 2020 since the company was set up, and an author of the original bid book that won the designation back in 2016, Mr McGrath agreed with some councillors who said the project encountered bad luck.

As well as a Storm Ciara’s ‘red’ weather alert forcing the cancellation of the main element of the opening ceremony at the Swamp in the Claddagh, much of the programme was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

But he insisted, if it had proceeded as planned, Galway 2020 “would have been a wow project with a feel-good factor”.

He said some 2.5 million visitors were expected in Galway in 2020 for the programme of events but many of the projects had to be cancelled or pivoted online due to Covid.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the January 13 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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