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Deal done for Cork's new event centre but it could end up costing the State more money

The Irish Examiner reports that than an extra €10 million of public money has been pledged.

An artist's depiction of what the site could look like.
An artist's depiction of what the site could look like.
Image: Youtube/Irish Examiner

CORK POLITICIANS ARE seeking clarifications on plans for the much-discussed event centre in the city after reports that additional public money is to be invested in the project.

The Irish Examiner reported this morning that a funding deal has been agreed that could see work starting on the project later this year.

The report says that the State is to invest an extra €10 million on top of the €20 million it’s already pledged into the project. The new investment will be for “supporting public infrastructure” around the site.

Private investors are also said to be increasing their funding by up to €10 million.

Plans for the 6,000 capacity venue and conference centre are being spearheaded by construction firm BAM and entertainment company Live Nation.

Both companies had previously been seeking an additional €12 million in State funding for the project.

It’s envisaged that the event centre will be developed on the old Beamish & Crawford brewery, which was founded in 1792 but has long since closed.

Speaking today about reports of the funding deal, Solidarity TD Mick Barry said that authorities need to explain what is meant by the “support infrastructure” the State will be pumping money into.

“This ‘support infrastructure’ add-on means that the cost of the project is now €73 million plus €10 million with the State providing €40 million of the €83 million total.  The taxpayer will now be covering half the cost of an event centre which will be owned and controlled by private interests,” he said.

Barry added that he would be attempting to raise the issue in the Dáil tomorrow and argued that the delayed project “underlined the case for a State construction company”.

Labour councillor Peter Horgan has complained that there has been a “culture of secrecy” surrounding the project that needs to end.

“If a deal has been done, then the public need to know the nuts and bolts of such a deal. The people of Cork want this to happen. They need this to happen but not at any cost or at the cost of democratic accountability,” Horgan said.

TheJournal.ie has asked BAM for a statement on its position with regard to the funding of the project.

Read: ‘If you must build something there, it has to be world class’ – the saga of the €250 million Cork city skyscraper >

Read: ‘They don’t want it slipping through their fingers’: Just what is happening with the Cork Event Centre? >

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Rónán Duffy

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