County Council “never committed” to €6m for Galway 2020

Kevin Kelly: Thanks to landowners.
Kevin Kelly, Chief Executive of Galway County Council

Galway City Tribune – The head of Galway County Council has said the local authority never committed to funding Galway 2020 to the tune of €6 million.

Chief Executive of the County Council, Kevin Kelly, has committed to “further discussion on additional funding to Galway 2020” above and beyond the €2 million it has already pledged to the European Capital of Culture bid.

But Mr Kelly, a member of the Board of Galway 2020, has told the CEO of Galway 2020, Hannah Kiley, that the County Council never agreed to a specific amount of €6 million.

This is despite Galway 2020, in its bid book that won the designation, budgeting for a €6 million injection from the County Council to be matched by €6 million Galway City Council.

Just last month, a team from Galway 2020 even told the European Commission that they “are still counting on receiving the full planned amount of €6 million” from Galway County Council.

In emails released to the Galway City Tribune under Freedom of Information, Mr Kelly in mid-June of this year sought to clarify the funding position of Galway County Council in respect of the project.

In a ‘background note’ that was copied to the Chief Executive of the City Council, Brendan McGrath, Mr Kelly told Ms Kiely: “At no point during the bid process was there a specific amount, or split, or contribution from the County discussed or agreed but the context of the difficult financial position of Galway County Council impacting on its ability to make a contribution was highlighted from the beginning as was the fact that this was something that could only be decided by the elected members”.

At a meeting in November 2014, following a presentation from Galway 2020, County Councillors, he said, “expressed concern about the project being a City of Culture and queried whether there would be a positive impact on the County”.
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