Legal challenge from Gleneagle could cause further delays to event centre

Legal challenge from Gleneagle could cause further delays to event centre

A legal challenge by Gleneagle Hotel (Killarney) Ltd in the High Court could cause further delays to Cork City’s long-awaited event centre.

A legal challenge in the High Court could cause further delays to Cork City’s long-awaited event centre.

Gleneagle Hotel (Killarney) Ltd, who also run the INEC Killarney, have lodged legal proceedings challenging the most recent plans announced for the centre, including an increase in Government funding. 

A judicial review is when the petitioner believes there may have been an issue with the decision-making process rather than with the substance of the decision.

A Voluntary Ex Ante Transparency (VEAT) notice was published by Cork City Council early in January to put those with an interest in the event centre process on notice of the changes being made to what was originally tendered in 2014.

The project was originally to receive approximately €14m in state aid but that has now risen to a total package of €50m.

It is understood the judicial review sought by the Gleneagle, who also operate the INEC in Killarney, concerns the awarding of that €50m from the Government to the project.

The case was lodged on January 30, and has been listed for mention in the High Court later this month.

A spokesperson for Cork City Council confirmed the news: “A notice of motion was lodged in the High Court by Gleneagle Holdings (Killarney) on Friday.

“Cork City Council has seven days to prepare and submit a statement of opposition.”

This means the council will now reply with an affidavit contesting the facts set out by the Gleneagle.

Fianna Fáil councillor Terry Shannon said he fears this challenge could cost Cork City Council significant legal fees, depending on how long the action lasts.

He believes funding had been the biggest issue facing the project, and that the council was blindsided by this motion.

This latest twist in the saga comes as the fourth anniversary of the turning of the sod of the events centre is fast approaching.

February 12, 2016, saw then-taoiseach Enda Kenny join Simon Coveney for the photo-op ahead of that year’s election.

Back then, the event centre was set to cost €50m. It now comes with an €85m price tag.

At the time of the sod turning, Simon Coveney said that there would be activity on the site almost immediately, but four years later no work has taken place to build the centre. Progress has been made on accommodation in a different part of the former Beamish and Crawford brewery site.

Despite the Government having committed €50m to the project, work on site wasn’t anticipated to start until at least May, as it emerged in January this year that detailed internal designs of the facility would take six to eight months to submit.

Philip Gillivan, Cork Business Association (CBA) president, highlighted the importance of the project going ahead for Cork.

He told The Echo that it’s needed in the city but that it feels like it’s been “ongoing forever.”

“It’s a no-brainer,” Mr Gillivan said. “Footfall, the night-time economy, hotels, restaurants and taxis would all benefit. The CBA is behind it, as are all the businesses, bars and restaurants.

“The city centre needs it.”

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