Storm still brewing in City of Culture saga

Dermot McLaughlin. (2604MMK01)
Dermot McLaughlin. (2604MMK01)
Share this article

I am afraid things are getting no better for some of the suits whose manoeuvring in relation to City of Culture has been in contrast to the brilliant work of people on the ground actively delivering the programme.

The Dublin dimension of the matter is by no means over.

Investigations into the operations of the Temple Bar Cultural Trust during a period when Ilex chief Matt McNulty was chair and Dermot McLaughlin was chief executive are coming to a head.

Mr. McLaughlin was announced last October as “linchpin” of City of Culture.

His departure was announced just five months later in controversial circumstances. Much of what Mr. McLaughlin was doing appeared to be behind the scenes, but the City of Culture programme hasn’t exactly fallen apart since the news that the “linchpin” was being pulled.

The outcome of the Temple Bar inquiries is likely to throw harsh light on the judgment of some of those most prominently involved in aspects of the organisation of City of Culture.

Expect major developments on this front within the next 10 days.

Some of the most powerful individuals immersed in this City of Culture imbroglio would be better advised taking heed of the facts reported here over recent weeks rather than creating a storm around Ebrington in an effort to establish who is “leaking” information to the Journal and Sentinel.

There has been no leaking. What there’s been - as will emerge very clearly in the coming months - is public-spirited whistle-blowing.

We are dealing with public money. The public has a right to know.

For one thing, individuals with indeterminate roles in City of Culture are being paid staggering sums while some of the talented people referred to earlier who are dedicated to Derry and the cultural life of the city are working over the odds for minimum wage.

And there’s a broader underlying issue here which needs addressing.

It’s worth reflecting what would become of a small community or sporting or cultural group if they were shown to have handled public money in the way that has characterised major institutions dispensing public funds.