The recent World BBQ Championships in Limerick have raised concerns about Limerick City and County Council’s approach to events. The international event took place between Friday, 13 October and Sunday, 15 October and attracted large crowds. However, many were unhappy about the cost of entry.
A number of Limerick residents complained to this newspaper that it was wrong for the event to charge entry to the People’s Park and some wondered whether it was worth paying to attend the World BBQ Championships at all. Tickets cost €5 per person on Friday and €10 per person on Saturday and Sunday. Entrance was free for children under 18. A weekend ticket was available for €15.
Elderly residents appear to have been the most put out about the event. Regular visitors to the People’s Park were not happy at being asked to pay an entrance fee when they had no interest in the event and merely wanted to use the public facilities. Some people were allowed to enter the park without paying when they explained that they only wanted to use the playground.
“I have heard of a number of people that were unhappy with the fact that people were being charged to enter this event before purchasing anything, which is quite understandable,” Councillor Séighin Ó Ceallaigh of Sinn Féin said. “I do not know the financials of the company involved so I wouldn’t comment on that side of things.”
“However, as a member of Limerick City and County Council, as a member of the committee that allocated funding to festivals in Limerick and as the Cathaoirleach of the Arts and Culture Committee in Limerick, I definitely believe that funding is being allocated in the wrong places.”
“This year I opposed funding going towards already successful events, particularly those ran by private companies. I think arts and tourism funding should be allocated to those who need it, and can achieve a lot with a little funding, rather than a top-up for bigger companies,” the councillor said.
“We have great potential here in Limerick, and we are seizing some of that potential through extra funding. St Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Christmas and Culture Night are just some of the events I have supported, but there are many more which I have not supported and will not support. If the Council fund any events, then where possible people shouldn’t be charged an arm and a leg just for entry.”
Officials from Limerick City and County Council were approached for comment but had not responded by the time of going to print. The Council was heavily involved in supporting the World BBQ Championships. The Council’s Brian Kennedy said at the time: “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Limerick as a great place to host and enjoy an international food event. We are very keen to facilitate the championships and work with the Association in the beautiful People’s Park which is one of our prized assets.”