Friday 19 January 2018

Cultural festival is axed over cash crisis

DUN Laoghaire's Festival of World Cultures is likely to be cancelled next year because of money problems.

Despite attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, the event leaves a massive dent in the budget of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council.

This year it ran a deficit that was €400,000 more than expected.

Council chiefs set up a festival review group, chaired by former county manager Derek Brady, which has recommended its suspension.

A letter to councillors from county manager Owen Keegan stated: "The group has advised me that developing a model for a sustainable festival, based on sound legal and economically efficient processes will take considerable time."


He said the event "has had the benefit of key core staff, who had acquired considerable knowledge and expertise over the past ten years".

"However, all the core staff have now left the employment of the council so a new team will have to be put in place if the festival is to continue," he said.

"The review group is of the view that it will be very difficult to have a sustainable festival in place for 2011." Mr Keegan highlighted the "outstanding success" of the event. It is "now the largest of its type in the country, attracting upwards of 200,000 visitors to Dun Laoghaire".

However, production costs have also increased, contributing to an "ever-increasing" budget. "These costs, together with the decline in available grants and sponsorship, have put serious financial pressure on the council," he said.


The council decided that, when the event is staged again, it should retain the "promotion of multi-culturalism" as one of its core objectives.

Dun Laoghaire councillors are to be given a presentation by the review group on Wednesday at County Hall.

"The review group, through its analysis, has identified the core elements of the festival which it believes are most worthy of financial support," Mr Keegan said.

The council can no longer afford the spiralling costs of the event, which has been running for 10 years.

The local authority is cutting almost €3m from its budget before December due to an increase in the number of companies going out of business.


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