ONE of Cork’s leading publicans has expressed shock and surprise after the director of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival was axed from her role.
It was revealed today that Sinead Dunphy, the woman credited with breathing new life into the festival in 2018, was let go from the role last week, just over a year into her three-year rolling contract.
The news comes days after the festival won Cork Business of the Year at the Cork Business Association (CBA) annual awards. Ms Dunphy had been lauded for her role in one of the most successful Jazz festivals the city had ever seen last year.
She had spoken passionately following the 2018 festival about her ambitious plans to grow it even further in the years ahead.
In a statement to the Irish Examiner, Diageo said that Ms Dunphy “will not be involved" in the 2019 festival. Ms Dunphy has said she cannot comment on the matter.
Benny McCabe, who owns around a dozen pubs and a brewery in Cork, described the news as “extremely surprising”.
“I was at that dinner (CBA) and everything seemed fine. They all worked hard to win that prize together,” he said.
“We’d be sad to see her go, she’s a very capable woman.
“I worked with her on different projects before,” added Mr McCabe.
“That’s a shock because I thought she did a great job last year.
“I’m extremely surprised.”
Mr McCabe said the future of the event is important for the region.
“It’s six months away now but that’s only around the corner in one sense,” he added.
Diageo has said it is committed to continuing with the partnerships to deliver a world-class event again this year.
An estimated 60,000 people attended last year’s festival which featured performances by some 1,000 musicians from more than 20 countries in venues across the city, and dozens of marching bands on the streets.
It is worth an estimated €45m to the regional economy annually.