UK City of Culture legacy funding will cease in less than a fortnight, Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has admitted.
The Minister has also reneged on a promise to open a new company to look after the City of Culture legacy in Londonderry, the Sentinel can reveal.
“At the time when the announcement of all these legacy projects we were very suspicious that there was no money identified, no plans in place.Colum Eastwood
Ms Ní Chuilín made a commitment during the cultural year in 2013 at a briefing in the Gasyard that a limited company would be set up to deliver legacy programmes.
However, speaking in Stormont this week, the Sinn Féin Minister said: “There is no baseline budget to continue provision of additional funding in the North West after March 31, 2015.”
She was responding to a query from Foyle SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood.
“When will the company limited by guarantee to deliver the City of Culture legacy programmes be established?” Mr Eastwood asked the Minister.
Ms Ní Chuilín replied: “Plans to establish a company limited by guarantee were based on a significantly higher allocation of funding for activity in the North West than my Department was able to secure through the in-year monitoring round process.”
That is in complete contrast to her announcement at an event held at the Gasyard in Londonderry’s Cityside during the city’s year as UK City of Culture.
Speaking on November 20, 2013, Ms Ní Chuilín said: “With the new councils being established in 2015, it makes sense that all of the North West region benefits.
“I will therefore set up a company limited by guarantee to deliver City of Culture legacy programmes and activities.”
SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood said: “At the time when the announcement of all these legacy projects we were very suspicious that there was no money identified, no plans in place.
“It is very disappointing to see that this has come true.
“We had always talked about the need to secure an effective legacy for after the City of Culture year.
“The Minister made a glitzy promise and simply hasn’t delivered and I think the people on the ground can see that.”
The DCAL Minister, in her response to Mr Eastwood’s query, said that the North West office of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure would continue to provide support with money that has been secured.