Belonging: Thank you for being part of Belonging

Thank you for being part of the European Investment Bank Belonging exhibition 2022.

11 February, 2022


Final speech at the launch of our 8 location co-created exhibition

Belonging explores Limerick’s European Embrace and the importance of the European Union to Limerick.

At a personal level, it is a wonderful telling of my own relationship and links across Europe.  For thirty years I have lived and worked in various countries in the European Union (and before that in the UK – never got rid of the accent). I landed in Limerick nearly 4 years ago.  Where I do feel I Belong.  It is a welcoming city with some glorious countryside and people whose attitude is one of helping others, of curiosity about the world beyond, of collaborating to make the world a better place.  

Our Belonging exhibition is a perfect demonstration of that and of how art and culture underpin our sense of Belonging AND why I have such a long list of heartfelt thank you’s.  

I thank Mayor Butler and Dean Sloane for the welcome to the City and its 12th Century Cathedral.  A big Danke Schön et Merci to President Hoyer and his European Investment Bank team present here: Cormac Murphy and Richard Willis as well as everyone behind the scenes.  I especially thank Delphine Munro the Curator of the European Investment Bank Art Collection for her brilliant curation of Belonging. 

I thank the speakers tonight Minister of State Thomas Byrne, Ambassador Guérend, President Kerstin Mey and Saoirse Exton, 

Thank you to Limerick City and County Council, the European Investment Bank, the Department of  Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media for their strong financial support. 

And we are very grateful to our sponsors the University of Limerick, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Technology University of the Shannon for the European Expo and Belonging launch events of today and tonight’s online show. For additional support in staging the exhibition, my thanks go to the Shannon Foynes Port Authority and to Stephen Kinsella, of the University of Limerick and the speakers at the Resilient Cities symposium today. 

For their financial support of the Education and community events to make Belonging Art fully accessible to everyone, I thank the Embassies of France, Italy, Poland, Romania, Luxembourg, Germany,  Austria and Hungary for their Sponsorship.  And to Croatia, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia and the EU Representation to Ireland thankyou for being here and all the support I am going to extract for the exhibition over the next 10 weeks:) 

The contribution of Diane Daly from the Irish Chamber Orchestra lifted everyone’s hearts as the ultimate form of communication through music –  a language without boundaries or geographical barriers. 

We love the work that the TUS – Limerick School of Art and Design Students have done under the guidance of Alan Keane to create Cyanotypes of some of the works on display in the Hunt Museum. 

An extremely large thank you goes to the curators of our cultural institutions who are hosting the 82 work exhibition across Limerick: starting with where we are now – Saint Mary’s Cathedral with 3 arresting artworks from Poland, France and the UK to the Bourn Vincent & East Room, University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College, People’s Museum, Limerick City Gallery of Art, the Sailors Home and ourselves.  I have no words of thanks great enough for the team in the Hunt Museum who have worked their butts off in the last 6 months and this includes the earlier work of our now retired exhibition curator Naomi O’Nolan.  

Thank you to Corina Hanrahan for pulling this launch together with AV Star and Simon Kingston-Hughes and last but by no means least to the Chair of the European Expo and the Hunt Museum and your host tonight and passionate Limerick and European man:  John Moran. 

It is now my great pleasure to invite you to the Hunt Museum to have a drink or two, to see 22 of the artworks that form part of this vaulting and stunning exhibition, and explore with us Limerick’s European Embrace and the importance of the European Union to Limerick.

Jill Cousins, CEO & Director of the Hunt Museum.



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