TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar is likely to make a “positive” announcement around the event centre project in the next 48 hours.
Fine Gael is holding their annual think-in at Garryvoe Hotel in East Cork today and tomorrow and senior party members have indicated Mr Varadkar will use the occasion to clarify funding and legal issues around the long-stalled project.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said he is “confident” the announcement will be positive and will bring relief to businesses in the city which are losing out in millions of Euro of revenue while the site at South Main Street remains idle.
Issues around the amount of public funding allocated to the project and the effect that could have on the tender award and also the level of construction inflation costs have yet to be resolved.
Senator Jerry Buttimer said he believes the ongoing uncertainty around these issues needs to be ended and added that he feels the centre would have progressed further if Cork had voted to make the city council’s mayoral role a directly elected position.
“We’ve had so many false dawns on the event centre that it’s difficult to know where we will be at but the important point is that, for those of us that have been supportive of the project, that we get this over the line and that we have bricks and mortar.
“Many of us are fatigued when it comes to the events centre. To be fair to the Tánaiste, he can’t be faulted for his involvement and commitment around the event centre. There needs to be an end brought to it.
“If we had a directly elected mayor, we would have the event centre by now," he added.
Design issues also remain on the project. Developer Bam was asked at the end of July by Cork City Planners to prepare a Nature Impact Statement (NIS) due to the possible impact the development might have on two conservation areas in Cork Harbour. They submitted the information late last month.
The venue will likely be able to hold 4,000 people for seated events and 6,000 when standing is incorporated at events.