Decision to be made within days if Galway will bid for Volvo raceJuly 12, 2012 - 7:30am
BY KATIE FINNEGAN
THE organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race Finale Festival will be making a decision within days if they will make an application for Galway City to host the event again.
However, John Killeen, President of Let’s Do it Global, said that if they were to apply for it again, they would need the Government and the city council and businesses to make a strong commitment to give “a significant contribution”.
“We wouldn’t do it under the same circumstances. It’s too tolling on the team. Let’s Do It Global is a unique voluntary, not for profit group unlike any other in the world. It needs to be underwritten by more than a volunteer group,” he said.
At the stopover in New Zealand, the Auckland city council underwrote the event and put it out to tender to find a company that would run it for them.
“We have to look at the mechanism and look and a different way of approaching it,” said Mr Killeen.
Many cities will be bidding to be a stopover port for the next race and according to Mr Killeen, “it’s very competitive”.
“Overall, the event takes about €10 million to run. We made an application to Fáilte Ireland for funding for the event this year and it was rejected. Minister Ó Cuív brought it to Cabinet where they instructed Fáilte Ireland to give €4 million towards the event. However that still didn’t cover the running of the whole event so we collected a further €6 million from local fundraising efforts.
According to Mr Killeen, Galway relied hugely on volunteers for the hosting of the finale, and there were only a handful of paid jobs.
“They’d be working until half ten at night and in again at six in the morning. Sometimes they’d be setting off the alarms because the security company wouldn’t be used to people going in and out of the buildings at those hours,” he said.
“Benefit in kind covered two thirds of the cost of the event. While you can rely on that, it’s not contracted. I mean, we had people from Dublin asking us, ‘hold on, where’s the contract?’ and we just said, ‘well they’re going to do it for us’.
“The total cost is much bigger than what we ended up paying [€10 million] and that was because of the volunteers.
If you were to calculate the value of the volunteers, not just over the two weeks of the event, but over the last year, you could easily reach another €2 million.”
Read more in today’s Connacht Tribune