By Sean Ryan - 23 July, 2016
"Limerick is on the rise. It has rediscovered its wonderful voice and will continue to celebrate that long into the future.”
Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick has commiserated with the organisers of Limerick’s bid for the European Capital of Culture and has stressed that the city’s “cultural renaissance will continue unabated’’.
Bishop Leahy made his comments this week after Galway was recently announced as the winner of the European Capital of Culture 2020 bid.
Congratulating Galway on the success Bishop Leahy said, “We are immensely proud of Limerick today, as proud of it as we could have been if it had won the bid. Life cannot be about winning or losing; it is about taking part and Limerick can certainly count the bid for the 2020 capital of culture among its finest hours.”
Speaking about the organising team behind the event Bishop Leahy said, “Mike Fitzpatrick and his team really struck a chord with the theme of ‘belonging’ in their bid.”
“Whether you are new to the city or from families that have been here for generations or whatever your background, this is a city that is very clearly seeking to create a sense of belonging. That is being brilliantly reflected through cultural expression.”
He added, “We rang the bells of our city’s churches at 20:20 on Monday night 11 July to welcome the jurors to the Limerick City and in celebration at where Limerick has arrived at. Today changes nothing; Limerick is on the rise. It has rediscovered its wonderful voice and will continue to celebrate that long into the future.”
The decision to award Galway the European Capital of Culture designation was made at an announcement in the National Concert Hall in Dublin by the chair of the panel Steve Green on Friday 15 July last.
It followed extensive site visits by members of the ten person judging panel to Galway on Monday, Limerick on Tuesday and the Three Sisters bid of Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny on Wednesday.
A large delegation from Limerick travelled to Dublin for the announcement, including Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon and Conn Murray, CEO of Limerick City and County Council, who was part of the presentation to the judges on Thursday ahead of the announcement.
Reacting immediately after Galway was unveiled, Limerick 2020 bid director Mike Fitzpatrick congratulated the winning city and said the team behind its bid had “obviously put in a fantastic effort to win the title, because all three cities worked incredibly hard.”
He added, “Limerick saw on Tuesday 12 July the feeling and the ambition of the people getting behind the bid. I suppose we have to figure out a way that that doesn’t dissipate, that we don’t lose that.”