Published: Fri, 17 April 2015
Seán Kelly MEP (Ireland South) today welcomed a bid from counties Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny, as well as from Limerick, to become the European Capital of Culture for 2020. Mr Kelly said that a successful bid for the coveted title, which has been awarded to selected cities since 1985, would give a significant boost to the Ireland South region which he referred to as being “on the up”.
The Fine Gael MEP highlighted the significance of the Capital of Culture and the benefits it can bring to the winning region or city, and emphasised its particular importance to the south of Ireland from which there will be two bids put forward; the South East, and Limerick.
“These bids are great news for the region as it can bring tremendous cultural, social and economic benefits. Previous winners have seen an average increase in tourism of 12% compared to the year before, with the added benefit of hundreds of diverse projects involving public and private investment bringing growth, jobs and development to the city and region in the years that follow.”
MEP Kelly held meetings with the representatives of Ireland South East 2020 in the European Parliament this week, on their plans for the three counties to jointly bid for the European Capital of Culture with Waterford city as its Capital and focal point.
“The South-East region is rich in culture and heritage and has proven time and again that it would be a more than suitable candidate, especially shown through the Spraoi and Tall Ships festivals in Waterford, the Kilkenny Arts Festival, and the Wexford Opera Festival, among others. The further cultural and socio-economic development in art, culture and tourism that this title brings would be a wonderful opportunity for the South of Ireland.”
“The South-East bid would be unique to the extent that it brings together three county councils in a joint bid, something that has not been done before now. The region is one that has been traditionally strong in tourism and being crowned European Capital of Culture would completely revitalise this industry.”
The bid follows the Government’s announcement of a new tourism policy to increase overseas visits to Ireland to 10 million by 2025 along with an initiative from Fáilte Ireland for a new cultural and historical route from Boyne Valley to East Cork, which will include developments such as Waterford Viking Triangle and the Medieval Mile in Kilkenny. MEP Kelly welcomed both initiatives, concluding that they will bring even further success Ireland’s tourism industry.