Calls for Galway 2020 leadership to address finances with city council

Galway daily news Call for further transparency on Galway 2020 finances

Calls have been made for the leadership of Galway 2020 to appear before the city council to address the project’s spending after the release of new reports.

Councillor Alan Cheevers said that the Chairman and Chief Executive of Galway 2020 should meet with elected representatives to discuss the annual financial report released this week.

Galway 2020’s own annual report for last year showed that €6.48 million was spent on the project last year, of which €4.3 million went towards programming costs; with the next most expensive items being Project Management at €964k, Staff Support Costs at €680k; and Office Costs at €422k.

The Comptroller and Auditor General’s latest report for the project, also released recently, states that 87% of the funding for the Capital of Culture ended up coming from the public purse strings by the end of 2020.

This compared with the 50% max Exchequer funding that was agreed on at the outset; though the report states that public funding was projected to account for 59%.

“Galway 2020 has not had the easiest journey from the start, but there are still questions to be answered,” Alan Cheevers said.

“I have requested that the Mayor put this on the meetings agenda to discuss with members of board.”

Councillor Cheevers asked why there has been no breakdown of costs in the annual report for individual events, redundancies of staff let go last year, legal expenditures, or costs from the cancellation of the opening ceremony.

“The total cost, to date, was €24.6 million for the project. We need more transparency and the public and taxpayers deserve to know it.”

The Comptroller’s report states that funding for the Capital of Culture included €14 million from the Department, of €15 million project, and €6 million in local authority funding compared with €12 million expected.

But the real shortfall came in the lack of regional, private sector, and other funding, after COVID-19 scattered plans for the delivery of the year.

Of €6.8 million that was expected to be raised through private sector funding, just €1 million was raised in the end, along with just €400k of the €5.5 million that was to come from other sources.

In the end these only accounted for 6% of the final funding for Galway 2020, where they were meant to cover more than a quarter of the cost.