Kilkenny is to make a joint bid for the chance to host the prestigious European Capital of Culture (ECOC) in 2020.
The ECOC is a city or region designated by EU for one calendar year, during which it organises a series of cultural events with a European dimension. Acting chief executive of Kilkenny County Council John Mulholland has told councillors that this can be “an opportunity for the city or region to generate considerable social, cultural and economic benefits, and it can help foster urban regeneration, change the region’s image and raise [its] visibility and profile on an international scale.”
In 2020, the European Capital of Culture will reside in Ireland, and the Government is to announce the competition for it presently. At least three cities – Dublin, Limerick, and Galway – are expected to make a bid for it.
“To this end, in the interests of economies of scale and in promoting the region, culture and landscape of the south-east in Ireland, it is proposed that the three counties of Kilkenny, Wexford, and Waterford would jointly prepare a bid for the European Capital of Culture in 2020,” he said.
Waterford County Council would act as the lead authority in this, and the cost of the bid would be split 40:30:30 between the three. If it goes ahead, a bid office would be established in Ferrybank.
The overal cost of preparing the bid will be around €150,000, with Kilkenny County Council putting up €45,000 of this. The bid development process will involve ‘significant community consultation and engagement’.
Mr Mulholland said it was a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Cllr Tomas Breathnach (LAB) proposed that the council go ahead with the initiative, and this was seconded by Cllr Peter Cleere (FF).