Richard Harris Festival received just €200 from Council, organisers insist

The Richard Harris International Film Festival has refuted claims made by Limerick City and County Council that the festival has received €1100 in funding this year.

Festival organisers insist that the international event only received €200 from the Council of Arts Office in 2016 –  €100 less than last year.

This sum, which has been allotted to them under the Grants under the Arts Scheme, is classed as funding relating directly to financing cultural activities in the city.

Organisers say that they have also received a letter of offer from the Fáilte Ireland and IPB Insurance Community and Diaspora Fund to the value of €900, but state that this money is a tourist initiative and is entirely dependent on the number of overseas visitors achieved.

Festival organisers have also pointed out that this sum is paid post event and is not always guaranteed.

In response to the Council’s suggestion that festival organisers should submit a budget of costs for consideration for additional funding, event organisers contend that a provisional budget for 2016 was submitted.

They have also denied claims made by the Council that they failed to attend a meeting scheduled between the Arts Office and the festival for Friday, September 30, 2016 saying: “We have no record of a meeting between the Council and the festival being formally arranged”.

The RHIFF Board of Directors have expressed their desire to work closely with the Council and other private and public stakeholders to turn the ever growing festival into a major destination festival by 2020.

“Essentially, we believe RHIFF is a viable brand. Our goal is to significantly expand the festival into a multi-disciplinary arts festival.

“We look forward to working with the LCCC, The Arts Office in Limerick and other stakeholders to make Limerick a leading destination for industry participants and tourists,” they said.

A spokesperson from Limerick City and County Council said: “The Council will not be commenting further on the issue”.

In a statement issued on Tuesday the Council claimed €1,100 has already been awarded to the festival organisers and said a letter of support was provided to organisers supporting their Arts Council funding promising additional support if this application was successful.

The council said the festival is also being supported by Limerick.ie, and was part of Limerick.ie’s ‘What’s On’ guide which is distributed to hotels and tourist offices across Limerick and will be showcased in a Halloween campaign highlighting events taking place in Limerick.

*This article originally appeared in the 2016 edition of the Limerick Voice newspaper.

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