Call for further accounting of Galway 2020 finances

Galway daily news Call for further transparency on Galway 2020 finances

Calls have been made for the leadership of Galway 2020 to give further accounting of how public money was spent on the project.

Councillor Alan Cheevers said that he has written to Mayor Colette Connolly to ask that the Chairman and Chief Executive of Galway 2020 appear before the city council.

Councillor Cheevers said that there was a “vast amount” of taxpayer money involved in the Capital of Culture, and a detailed breakdown of costs is needed.

“I believe as the company was wound down at the end of last year, now is the time to get into the details of real cost of this project,” Alan Cheevers said.

He specifically raised the issues of how much was paid out to programme directors who left the company, or whose contracts were severed.

Other areas where transparency is required include the cost of the cancelled opening ceremony for Galway 2020.

The opening ceremony, which was meant to be a spectacular affair at South Park in the Claddagh in February 2020, was cancelled due to a weather warning.

The Galway 2020 Capital of Culture Financial Monitoring Report 2017-2021 shows that, over the lifetime of the project, it received just under €21 million in public funding from Ireland.

This comprised €14 million in national funding, €3,683,991 from the city council, and €2,946,475 from the county council, which altogether made up 87% of the total budget for the project.

Taking place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, private sector funding did not nearly approach what was envisaged in the bid book.

Of the €6.75 million which was projected to come from the private sector, just over €1.1 million was raised in the end.

Over the lifetime of the project €14.97 million was spent on the Cultural Programme according to the report, two-thirds of all expenditure.

A further €3.35 million (15%) went towards Staff Support Costs, and €1.27m (6%) was for Office & Finance Costs.

There was €1.87m spent on Promotion & Marketing, €800,000 on Programme Management, and €421,000 on Professional Services.