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 The site of a new events centre off South Main Street, Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.
 The site of a new events centre off South Main Street, Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Sherlock: No clarity yet on Events Centre

FURTHER questions have been asked by Cork TDs as the events centre saga continues to rumble on.

It is now almost two months since Tánaiste Simon Coveney confirmed that a funding package was on the verge of being agreed to get the facility over the line.

That announcement came two years after the sod was turned on the South Main Street site, formerly home to Beamish & Crawford, where work has progressed on the construction of student apartments in recent months.

However, details of funding package expected to bridge the gap between the State funding already agreed and the increases sought by developer BAM have yet to be made clear.

In a reply to a parliamentary question posed by Cork East Labour TD Sean Sherlock, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan said 'no formal meetings' have taken place on the matter in the last two months.

Ms Madigan said, "My Department continues to engage with both Cork City Council and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform regarding the complex legal, state aid and match funding issues and in relation to the Cork event centre through correspondence and discussion. The Department has met with the City Council on this project in the past and while there has been no formal meeting in the period referred to in the question [the past two months], the Department will continue to meet with the City Council when required."

She continued, "In the context of the additional funding being sought for the project, my Department as sanctioning authority for the project, needs to ensure that the project is robust, complies with the Public Spending Code and will deliver value for money for the exchequer."

Mr Sherlock criticised the lack of progress on the matter.

"The latest response from the Minister raises even more questions," he said.

"We still have no clarity on what exactly is involved in the funding that has not been sanctioned. No formal matter has taken place in the last two months yet the Government saw fit to include the event centre in the public relations bonanza of Project 2040.

"We don't know what benefit from the taxpayers money the developers will make. The question has to be asked of the stakeholders - what exactly is going on? The people of Cork deserve to know what is going on rather than the vague commentary currently rolled out."