Confusion over which department holds funding for event centre

Confusion over which department holds funding for event centre

A computer-generated image of the revised event centre plans submitted by Bam following a request by planners for further information. Pic: G-Net 3D

FUNDING for the long-awaited event centre is not currently being handled by the Department of Local Government, it has been confirmed.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar revealed last month that following talks between the Government, operators Live Nation, developers BAM, and Cork City Council, funding certainty had been reached and that the local authority was to receive funding for the project via the Department of Local Government.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht had previously been in charge of funding for the project.

However, a Freedom of Information request by Labour representative Peter Horgan seeking all documentation received by the Department of Local Government relating to the funding requirements and processes has been refused on the basis that the Department of Culture is still the lead Government body for the project.

Mr Horgan said the funding channel for the project needs to be clarified.

“This is very concerning. The event centre is being used as a political football, which it really shouldn’t be. We still don’t have clarity on which department the money will be funnelled through,” he told The Echo.

“Now we have the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Culture, the Department of the Tánaiste and the Department of Housing and Local Government all involved in this.

“Surely Local Minister Eoghan Murphy needs to be informed of this large tranche of money that will be coming through his Department to the lcoal authority for a project.

“This is creating extra layers of bureaucracy when they don’t need to be. This has been talked about for nearly the full lifetime of the current Government.”

Tánaiste, Simon Coveney told the media in Cork last month that the centre will cost more than the €80m originally cited, but added the funding process that had led to legal issues regarding the tender had now been “simplified” and a new planning application by developers BAM could lead to contract negotiations with city council, starting next month.

The previous funding package for the event centre included €21m of Government grant aid, €9m of a repayable loan and another €6.5m planned for public realm works.

Mr Coveney has said the extra public cost for the project could not be revealed until contract negotiations between Bam, operators Live Nation and Cork City Council are concluded.

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