The Kilkenny Journal

Tuesday, 26th September 2017
Latest Edition

Saturday, 25 July 2015 17:28



Kilkenny being milked, locals charge.
55,000 for one director for the week plus top hotel, food & drink.


Here we are at the start of yet another Kilkenny Arts Festival during the week. And now some Kilkenny artists want to know where all the profits are going? They have contacted the Kilkenny Journal but wish to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

They state that Kilkenny is being milked and they're not talking about Avonmore either.

The story we hear are that the directors are on thousands in fees for the week, we hear a sum of 55,000 to one director alone for the week, before expenses . And on top of that they are in first class hotel accommodation for free with the most expensive of food and drink laid on.

We hear that hundreds of thousands are made out of St. Canice's cathedral concerts alone. Most of this fabulous money leaves Kilkenny and the local economy every year, local artists get nothing from it all. Surely the upkeep and maintenance of our magnificent cathedral could do with a realistic share - we hear they get a measly 150 a night from the concert promoters.

Back in the days when Kilkenny Arts WEEK was run this wasn't so. Apparently the big money for the directors and the big profits being taken out of Kilkenny started with the set-up of the commercial Kilkenny Arts Festival brand.

These directors are making thousands for just opening their mouths to launch the festival in front of the microphones.

So the complaints go. And we can see how people are concerned that no money goes back into Kilkenny and the development and encouragement of the arts and artists here.

"not a tosser", a local writer charges, "not a tosser goes back into the arts and crafts in Kilkenny. They clean every cent they can out of this city every year with this new brand arts festival. It wasn't so with the old arts week, there was some return out of that and the arts were encouraged back then, but now it's a rip-off, the prices above in the cathedral are a rip-off, it's all down to greed and no locals benefit at all any more. There are a couple of very cunning operators at the top now! "

Well that's the other side of the story and we wonder what you all make of that? Most local people, we know, don't bother with the Arts Festival, and we wonder if this is because there is nothing in it for local artists any more.

The best about the Arts Festival is that it promotes the city, tourism and helps the hospitality industry. But shouldn't the operators at least try to invest something in the city, in the cathedral and in the arts in Kilkenny.

These local artists have a great point to make. We hope they will be heard and that Kilkenny Arts Week will contribute financially to the city and especially to the development of local arts and crafts here.
And of course we wish the festival every success yet again and will fully participate and help and contribute in every way we can.

Published in Front
Friday, 11 August 2017 18:13




As the 2017 Kilkenny Arts Festival is launched at Butler House at 5.45 pm this evening, The Kilkenny Journal has accounts - proof that the sum of over three quarters of a million Euro is taken out of Kilkenny annually in private profits.

The money is taken by the directors , seven in all, who are basically self-appointed and self-perpetuating. They take advantage of a Victorian loophole in the law governing industrial provident societies to whip the money out of this city into private bank accounts.

The Arts Festival commenced as a genuine community initiative called the Kilkenny Arts Week but was transformed into the present Kilkenny Arts Festival to enable the seven committee members to become the seven directors of the new provident society that they established 17 years ago as an enabling legal mechanism to transfer the money out into their private domains.

This evening they are wining and dining amid all the politicians and media they have in thrall in Butler House - invitation only though the festival is supposed to be a strictly community based event.

The main features of the financing are huge grants from the Arts Council and County Council as well as an estimated 40,000 Euro profit for the week from the main music event in St. Canice's cathedral.

And with all this money drained out of Kilkenny annually there is nothing left, not a single sou for the genuine artists, writers and musicians of Kilkenny. Some of the more troublesome artists who might kick up are wined and dined throughout the week at lavish parties in city hotels and restaurants to keep them quiet , and ditto we are sad to say with the local media.

Once again this year this city is being robbed, it is being bled dry, and it's all done within the Law while young Arts Festival hosts and hostesses are made to feel that they are privileged to work for nothing and the real artists are thrown out to exhibit in the open in the "cardboard city" of the Mayors Walk.

We estimate that approximately £784,000 is thus disposed of annually and we will be making the accounts we have available over the weekend up here on The Kilkenny Journal, the only local media that gives the facts and tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, whatever they may say.

Pictured: Fergus Cronin, Kilkenny Arts Festival director - and director of four Kilkenny festivals, resident of Ranelagh, Dublin.

Image may contain: one or more people and close-up
Published in Front


Noted Irish artist Ramie Leahy may have a valuable painting hanging in Kilkenny Garda Station, but that cut no ice with the police who moved him on from the Parade in the centre of Kilkenny city today at the behest of a local County Council official.

Ramie Leahy has reported that he and his fellow artists were forcibly moved on by a Kilkenny County Council official backed up by Gardai today.

This shows what we are saying all along here in the Kilkenny Journal is true, that the Council only cares for the moneymaking classical music side of the Festival above in Canice's cathedral but discriminates against the ordinary artists of Kilkenny.

Notice that there is not a TD nor a councillor in sight to protest against this high-handed action by officialdom.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, eating, hat, table, outdoor and food
Ramie Leahy
9 hrs · Kilkenny · 

For my contribution as founder of Kilkenny Arts Festival painting on the Parade was asked to move by a staff member of Kk Co . When refused he called the Guards . ART IN KILKENNY ?

Published in Front
Friday, 25 August 2017 06:08


Kilkenny Arts Festival funds trousered.


"The best music of the Kilkenny Arts Festival is the sound of the fiddle".

Deputy editor Sean Keane tries in his usual flippant manner to paper over the cracks in a report that is pure P.R.

The Alternative Kilkenny Arts is NOT the Kilkenny Arts Festival and is indeed ignored by the main Kilkenny Arts festival, receiving no recognition, finance , subsidy or resource of any kind .

The main Kilkenny Arts Festival gobbles up hundreds of thousands in grants from the Arts Council and KIlkenny County Council as well as hundreds of thousands in ticket sales and this is all privately trousered.

Not a cent goes to art or artists, it is all trousered. It is all one massive con job on the city and the people of Kilkenny.

They hire in the cheapest acts and pay 150 quid a night for St. Canice's cathedral - where they take 30,000 a night throughout the festival. All of this , after the cheap acts are paid, is trousered.

Mr. Keane suggests that business makes 5 millions, there is no proof of this - but the old arts week before it was taken over by the present crew was always great for business anyway. In fact the former Kilkenny Arts Week could have brought even more money into the city, compared to today's festival where all the grants and ticket sales go into private pockets.

The Kilkenny People newspaper profits from advertisements from these private arts festival promoters , so there's your explanation for Mr. Keane's extravagant claims.

As regards the visual arts we get only the efforts of local artists in venues like "cardboard city" on the Parade where the artists were swept out of it by torrential rain. Some shops, hotels and pubs help out but not a red cent is received by the fringe from the private operators who now own the Kilkenny Arts Festival for their own pockets.

Councillor Noonan is trying to build up a new political bandwagon for himself out of the AKA Fringe, as politicians will do - but he never founded or had anything to do with the AKA up to recently.

And now Cllr. Noonan together with Deputy Editor Keane tries to confuse the AKA as having something to do with the Kilkenny Arts Festival proper , as if that were the case. It is not. The AKA gets NOTHING from the Kilkenny Arts Festival operators, often it looks like they don't even want the AKA though there's nothing they can do about it. In any case the operators are happy to trouser some hundreds of thousands between them , so you can run all the fringes you like!

To be honest, to artists like Ramie Leahy the Kilkenny Arts Festival ( that he founded over forty years ago) is today just one big fiddle - but the Kilkenny People hides this as a matter of policy because of the rich vein of advertising revenue they reap from the Festival , while Noonan tries to cull votes from it , so to be honest he stands to gain the least.But he does confuse the two events that run alongside each other over the ten days and he's probably useful to the promoters thus.

Keane is wrong about the original aim/objective of the Kilkenny Arts Week. It was never to make money for pubs - well and good if that happened. The aim was to highlight the arts in Kilkenny, to bring in the best of art and artists to the city and to re-invest any proceeds in the arts, artists and arts resources of Kilkenny.

It was never about filling hotel beds, but well and good iif that happened, it was for art and artists. But all of that worthy objective was well and truly ignored once again over the past fortnight while the maxiumum profits were screwed out of the main events above in St. Canice's cathedral and trousered by the present directors, as well as all the money in from the Arts Council and County Council grants!

As a result there is no money left in either kitty to finance the arts and artists in Kilkenny. The city is being milked annually of all those monies that could go to arts and artists, to fund a local art gallery for instance, maytbe a gallery of photography too.

The pity of it is that now again this year all the money is gone out of Kilkenny for yet another year as the arts in Kilkenny city and county are once again straved of any resources at all. All the arts money is gone, we have nothing for arts in Kilkenny, we haven't had since our Arts festival was taken over approximnately seventeen years ago by legal trickery.

The Kilkenny People should at least be decent enough to remain silent rather than spin a whole line of propaganda to cover all this fiddling of Kilkenny's resources that should be going to the promotion of the arts and artists here.

Further we have fallen tragically behind in the arts festival scene - Galway Arts Festival, which is an honest arts fesrival unlike the one here, has the greatest of international visual artists. We have fallen so much that even the operators of the arts festival here have admitted that we're not a patch on Edinburgh- how the hell could we be when the entire profits of the Kilkenny Arts Festival now lie in private bank accounts as we write.

The main director of the Kilkenny Arts Festival is also Chairman of the local radio station KCLR, so that's wrapped up and you're not going to hear a murmur from there either except false praise as we get from the Kilkenny People - because they all have their gobs in the trough.

The greatest music of the Kilkenny Arts Festival is the sound of the fiddle!

Running simultaneously with the Arts Festival, The Alternative Kilkenny Arts (AKA) provided two weeks of exhibitions, plays, poetry, literature, talks and debates, music and community engagement. By adopting a simple principle to provide a platform…
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