City on a high as culture launch takes off

Limerick’s City of Culture 2014 programme will generate over €100m in additional visitor revenue, the Limerick city/county manager, Conn Murray, predicted yesterday.

Rose Hynes, the head of the new Shannon Airport group, said not alone will it bring extra passengers, but will encourage airlines to open up new routes to serve Shannon.

Headline events on the City of Culture 2014 programme include performances by Riverdance to start its 20th anniversary world tour, and flautist James Galway.

More than 100 local community groups have been given funding for performances.

Mr Murray, speaking at the programme launch yesterday, said while it was difficult at this stage to gauge the financial spin-off, initial estimates are that the events will generate over €100m.

He said accountants Grant Thornton has been engaged to work on an estimate.

Pat Cox, the former president of the European Parliament, is chairman of the City of Culture 2014 committee and said the programme will turn Limerick into a year-long national stage.

“The edgy, urban, and contemporary will blend with the traditional to reveal the rich, cultural diversity and heritage of the Treaty City. This year will be a chance to shine a light on Limerick and to lift the lid on the best that we have to offer as Ireland’s premier cultural venue in 2014,” he said.

Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan said one of the primary objectives of the national City of Culture programme was to leave a long-term impact on the host city.

“Based on the programme outlined today and what is to follow, one cannot help but be excited by what lies ahead for Limerick next year,” he said.

He praised government colleagues Michael Noonan and Jan O’Sullivan, who backed his request for funding of €6m for the programme.

Mr Noonan, the finance minister, said successful cities are locations with strong, cultural bases.

“One of the elements of success is that culture is something which should not be for a small elite tapping into it occasionally, but is part of the tapestry of ordinary life, where going to a concert or a museum or an art exhibition is like going to a rugby match or going for a pint,” Mr Noonan said.

“The City of Culture 2014 will help this and will add to the confidence of the city.”

Jan O’Sullivan, the housing minister, said the City of Culture programme was an opportunity for Limerick to be the great city it has the capacity to be, into the future, and beyond.

The extensive programme runs across 13 different themes.

It will open with a New Year’s Eve procession of light along city streets and on the Shannon, followed by fireworks and a special effects spectacular.


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