Galway City Council this week announced funding for over 80 arts organisations in the city. Macnas received a substantial funding cut, losing an unprecedented 25% of their allocation compared to their peers who received more modest cuts in the region of 2 – 4%. This excessive cut comes in spite of the company staging one of the largest Galway parades of recent years the week prior to the meeting.
Macnas committed to staging a parade in Galway in 2013 and forged new partnerships with organisations such as The Latin Quarter, Avaya, Galway Clinic, Galway West End Traders, Fáilte Ireland and by running a hugely successful Fund It campaign raising €10,500 from mainly local people to secure the event. These partnerships and fundraising initiatives were reliant on repeat funding from Galway City Council arts grants in addition to a special grant secured from the City Council Corporate Policy Group in July. This week’s unexpected cut significantly undermines that funding strategy and leaves the Macnas parade facing a significant financial shortfall.
‘This year’s parade was presented as a celebration of the company’s work over the last four years and was populated with magical imagery, wild performance, eclectic costume, original live music and lighting design. The event drew an estimated 35,000 people onto the city streets. The Parade is a unique event embodying Galway’s reputation as a cultural hub and as a great place to live and visit. It involves hundreds of volunteers from performers to pushers to stewards and without them, the public support and our parade partners, this event could not have happened.‘ said Artistic Director Noeline Kavanagh. ‘Even though we delivered on our promise to present a parade for the people of Galway, and the people of Galway responded by lining the streets in their thousands on a stormy Sunday evening, the City Council this week cut our funding by 25% (€8,000). The Parade does not have a box office income or a large corporate sponsorship base; it is a free, outdoor spectacle in Galway city and this week’s excessive and unreasonable cut undermines this key cultural event which has taken place in the city over the last 26 years.’
Despite severe weather warnings on Sunday 27th October, the Macnas parade took to the streets as planned and brought tens of thousands of people to the city.
Photo Credit: Marta Barcikowska 2013