Meeting sought over sackings

The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr John Buttimer has called for an urgent meeting between City Hall’s arts committee and the board of Cork Film Festival in the wake of the decision to make chief executive Mick Hannigan and programmer Una Feely redundant.

He expressed his regret yesterday at the departure of two key figures associated with the annual Cork Film Festival.

“I am saddened that two key people who have dedicated and committed themselves to promoting film in Cork and the Cork Film Festival for many years have lost their positions.

“Mick and Una are synonymous with film not only in Cork but in Ireland and Europe, and we have a lot to thank them for.”

The mayor said: “The funding of regional and national festivals and cultural programmes is now in the balance and there is a need for national funding agencies [the Arts Council, Culture Ireland, and Department of Arts] to undertake an immediate review of the manner in which they fund initiatives outside of Dublin.

“As one of the oldest and more established film festivals, with a unique emphasis on the Irish short film and education programmes, the Cork Film Festival has done much to bolster, promote and support the indigenous film industry. This should be recognised in future applications for national funding.

“I hope that the Cork Film Festival can and will continue into the future as it is one of the key festivals of the year in Cork.”

He added: “Cork City Council, he said, will also have to look at its financial support — and other commitments through benefit in kind — of the festival to ensure that our actions continue to support the viability of the festival going forward.”

In a statement, the festival board said the redundancies were made on foot of an independent strategic review of Ireland’s longest running film festival.

“The review showed that our current structure is simply unsustainable,” said board chairman Denis McSweeney. “As part of this, the positions of CEO and festival programmer have become redundant.”

The board had paid tribute to the work of both Mr Hannigan and Mr Feely and to “thank them for their outstanding contributions throughout the years”, said Mr McSweeney.

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