CULTURE CLASH; Emails Reveal Dispute between City Chiefs over PS14m Budget

Article excerpt

Byline: MAURICE FITZMAURICE

DAMNING emails have revealed how two key figures at the centre of Derry's City of Culture efforts have been at each other's throats.

The messages show how relations deteriorated throughout the year between Derry City Council and the Culture Company.

Council chief executive Sharon O'Connor and Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Culture Company, were embroiled in a dispute mainly around marketing. Both have declined to comment.

e-at he The emails, obtained by the BBC using Freedom of Information, show the council at times lost confidence in the Culture Company, describing their marketing as "sub-standard".

Funding Culture it was promised They also revealed Culture Company staff felt they were being "undermined and subjected to sustained negativity".

One part of an email from Derry City Council asked Culture Company staff to "grit their teeth and bear it".

O lau Mpdh 4m received by the Company when PS14m On the eve of the City of Culture launch, Ms O'Connor wrote to Ms McCarthy: "This whole project is in jeopardy and deflecting blame is not helpful.

"We really need for you to drop the us-and-them attitude and get with the Team Derry approach.

"You told me there was no need for panic with regard to the state of planning for 2013. Now might be a very good time to panic."

In an email from Ms McCarthy to a Culture Company colleague, she said: "Sharon is now making her move to take over our marketing team and budget. …