The man who described himself as the lynchpin for Derry’s year as City of Culture has resigned after just six months in the job.
Dermot McLaughlin said he was stepping down as project director with Derry City Council because of personal reasons.
Mr McLaughlin was head-hunted for the 12-month secondment with the council after being credited with transforming Dublin’s Temple Bar district.
But in a statement released today, the Strategic Investment Board, which oversaw his appointment – confirmed last November – said he was leaving the post.
“Dermot McLaughlin has resigned from his role as Derry City Council’s City of Culture project director. This was Mr McLaughlin’s decision, which he has taken for personal reasons.
“Strategic Investment Board (SIB) and Derry City Council would like to thank him for his substantial contribution to the project, which came at a crucial time. We wish him every success for the future,” a spokeswoman said.
Mr McLaughlin, a Derry native, was a key player in the city of culture team. He was responsible for maximising the economic and social benefits and had a central role in events programming, infrastructure development and marketing the city.
His resignation will take effect from April 30.
He will return to his post as chief executive of the Temple Bar Trust, which manages commercial, residential and retail properties worth an estimated €9.4m in Dublin city centre.
A spokeswoman for Derry City Council said: “We would like to thank Dermot for his significant contribution and direction at a critical time in the 2013 project and would like to take this opportunity to wish him every success for the future.”
His appointment was part of a controversial shake-up of the Culture Company ordered by the local authority, which included bringing the marketing arm under the control of Derry City Council and a new appointment made to lead it.
Urgent meetings will now be held to decide who, if anyone, will be his replacement.
“Derry City Council and partners will meet to review and address the future operational requirements for the City of Culture project,” said a council spokeswoman.