Ryan quits as City of Culture CEO

Patricia Ryan. Picture: Sean Curtin

The CEO of Limerick’s City of Culture has resigned.

In another blow to the embattled project, Patricia Ryan announced her decision to step down this afternoon.

"This afternoon I have informed the Board of Limerick National City of Culture 2014 and the Manager of Limerick Local Authorities of my decision to resign as Chief Executive Officer," Ms Ryan said in a statement released this afternoon.

"The speculation and commentary surrounding the events of recent days has regrettably compromised my authority and capacity to continue leading this project. "

Ms Ryan's appointment was dogged by controversy after it emerged she was given the position on the recommendation of Limerick city and county manager, Conn Murray and that the position was not advertised.

Speaking on RTÉ’s lunch time news Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan defended her position and described Ms Ryan “as a very good CEO”. However, he did admit the appointment process could have been better handled.

Ms Ryan, former adviser to ex-president of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, was on a salary of over €150,000.

Mr Murray previously defended the appointment telling local councillors he was satisfied there was no breach of recruitment regulations. He said he understood criticism of the process, but Ms Ryan “was the right person to do the job for Limerick”.

He said the project was under pressure to secure a CEO because of funding delays.

“I understand why there is criticism of the process, but it must be seen in the context of the availability of the timelines of the programme and the available budgets.

“I’m very confident the person in place is the right person to do the job for Limerick.”

Ms Ryan is the latest high profile person to resign from the board.

Just 24 hours after Limerick’s year as City of Culture was launched amid huge celebration on New Year’s Eve, the artistic director of the programme of events also tendered his resignation.

Karl Wallace’s decision to leave his post came after reports just before Christmas that he was unhappy that he was not being able to do his job in the way he wished.

Two other staff members have also resigned.

In her resignation statement Ms Ryan paid tribute to the "exceptionally hard working team" behind the project.

"I wish the Limerick National City of Culture 2014 project every success and as a proud Limerick woman will continue to offer it my support," she concluded.

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