The man who led the regeneration of Dublin’s Temple Bar is returning to his native Londonderry to take on a top role on the 2013 City of Culture team.
Dermot McLaughlin has been drafted in on a one-year secondment as project director of the partnership responsible for the year’s events.
His appointment looks set to be followed by others as Derry City Council made it clear that there would now be a larger team beyond the Culture Company involved in thefestival.
Mr McLaughlin will work closely with Derry City Council chief executive Sharon O’Connor and the Culture Company head Shona McCarthy to oversee the implementation of the massive programme of events planned for the year. He has been chief executive of the Temple Bar Cultural Trust since 2003 and it is understood he was head-hunted for the new role.
His appointment has been made by Derry City Council.
It comes as part of a controversial shake-up of the Culture Company ordered by the local authority over recent weeks.
This has already seen the marketing arm of the company brought under the control of Derry City Council and a new appointment made to lead it.
The first full draft of the City of Culture programme for 2013 was unveiled in the city to rave reviews last Thursday.
Derry City Council yesterday said it had appointed Mr McLaughlin to ensure networks and services are in place “to support the programme and legacy”.
Ms O’Connor suggested there could be further appointments.
She said: “As the City of Culture’s senior responsible officer, Dermot will support me, working closely with Shona McCarthy and the Culture Company team, to ensure that all the priority city elements, to support the programme, are in place.
“As we get organised in terms of delivery, it is prudent to draw on the experience of projects of similar scale, such as Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture 2008, and ensure all the necessary people and resources are in place to deliver a successful year.”
Culture Company chief executive Shona McCarthy said Dermot was “a welcome asset”.
She said: “We are delighted by the positive response that the programme has already received nationally and internationally.
“2013 is just around the corner and we need to expand the team on many levels to ensure that the city can deliver on expectations created by our cultural ambitions.
“Dermot's commercial and cultural background and project management skills will be a valued addition to our work.”
The city council yesterday confirmed there would be a process of “adding skills and resources to the 2013 partnership team”.
SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan welcomed the appointment.
He said: “It is a good addition to the civic team for this important year.”
Dermot brings a valuable range of skills and wide experience to his new position.
“As someone who hails from Derry, I have no doubts he will put those talents to good use on behalf of the people of this city.”
Dermot McLaughlin was born in Derry in 1961 and raised in the city. At the age of 18 to he moved to Dublin to study Early and Modern Irish at Trinity College, graduating in the early ‘80s with a First Class Honours degree. From 1986 through to 1998 he was traditional music officer and music officer with the Arts Council in Ireland. For the next five years he took up the senior management position of artform director with the Arts Council before becoming chief executive of the Temple Bar Cultural Trust in 2003. Since 1991 it has helped regenerate the area. He is responsibile for directing a strategy for cultural development at the Temple Bar.