Freeman of Limerick and former European Parliament President, Pat Cox will be joined by two other internationally renowned Freeman of Limerick; Riverdance composer, Bill Whelan and rugby international Paul O’Connell to lead the team for the Limerick City of Culture initiative for 2014.
Publish Date: Tuesday 8th January 2013
Freeman of Limerick and former European Parliament President, Pat Cox has accepted the invitation to be the Chair of the governing group that will drive the Limerick City of Culture initiative for 2014.
It was also announced yesterday (Monday, January 7th 2013) that Mr. Cox will be joined by two other internationally renowned Freeman of Limerick; Riverdance composer, Bill Whelan and rugby international Paul O’Connell to lead the team for Limerick’s designation which will begin on January 1st 2014.
As proven leaders, the triumvirate were chosen to represent the areas within which they have excelled nationally and internationally that symbolise a broad approach to the understanding of culture, not just of Limerick, but of Ireland.
Limerick was announced last year as the first National City of Culture for 2014 by Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. As part of the initiative, a city in Ireland will be selected and designated as a National City of Culture every two years with the designation itself lasting for one calendar year.
Pat Cox said he was "delighted and honoured" to chair the 2014 Limerick National City of Culture group.
"The aim of the National City of Culture initiative is to deliver a programme of cultural events and engagement in Limerick for 2014, but also a programme which has a longer term positive impact," he said. "The designation is also an opportunity to showcase what we know to be the real Limerick in terms of its personality. Such a designation by Government for the City is historic, it will provide a new direction for Limerick more than 800 years after its original charter to embody the potential of a city of culture- encompassing Art, Design, Technology and Sport in all their myriad interacting and creative forms. The delivery of a National City of Culture within a year planning window is demanding but achievable. Part of my role as chair will be to listen to the wider community and develop from the ground up a programme of international significance for Limerick, for Munster and for Ireland."
Mr. Cox also confirmed that the Director of The Arts Council, Orlaith McBride, has also accepted a position on the driving group.
Speaking at the launch, composer Bill Whelan said: "Limerick now has a golden opportunity to showcase its unique cultural gifts in the arts and sport, and to celebrate what Limerick people believe is excellent about our city. I am proud to be asked to be involved in this historic endeavour."
Rugby international, Paul O’Connell added: "I've always been a very proud Limerick man and I'm particularly proud of the unique culture of sport in this city; it's our heartbeat, our passion and what makes us tick. I’m looking forward to a vibrant programme of events for 2014 and helping to build on the long and distinguished history of the arts in Limerick and creating a legacy that we can all benefit from."
Welcoming the announcement, Minister Deenihan stated: "I am delighted that Pat, Paul and Bill, three very high profile individuals, have so selflessly accepted the invitation to lend their support to this initiative. Each of them has a very unique skills set and knowing that their level of commitment is one hundred per cent to all that they embark upon I am confident that working alongside the local authorities, Limerick as National City of Culture for Ireland during 2014 will be a resounding success."
Limerick Local Authorities Manager, Conn Murray said Limerick City of Culture is not just a cultural project, it is about re-imagining Limerick as 'an antidote to skepticism'.
"It is a chance to talk about the conflict between the cliché of our city and the hidden values of our city - it’s time to refresh the positive hidden values. Limerick must be recognised as an international cultural centre by the end of 2014 and we should think of culture in an integrated way, with regards to social policy, regeneration and tourism. It must be a hook, a force of change for good," he added.
The first draft of the programme for Limerick City of Culture 2014 will be officially launched in mid June 2013.