Cork events centre spiralled from a €50m to €80m project in four years

Cork events centre spiralled from a €50m to €80m project in four years
A view of the proposed conference and events centre at the heart of the €150m Brewery Quarter regeneration project on the former Beamish and Crawford site in Cork.

THE Dáil has been told how Cork’s events centre project spiralled from a €50m to an €80m project over the last four years.

The latest financial projections provided by Cork City Council to the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht indicate a significant increase in the original cost of the Cork event centre compared to when the project tender was issued in December 2014, Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan told Sinn Féin Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire.

“The estimated cost at that point was €50 million,” said Minister O'Donovan.

“The cost is now estimated at around €80 million. A significant part of this increase is accounted for by the redesign of the facility since the original tender to allow for a large increase in the capacity of the venue.

“In light of this cost increase, Cork City Council wrote to the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht seeking €10 million in additional funding for the project from the Exchequer.

“This would bring the Exchequer contribution to €22 million and total public funding to €30 million.”

Following detailed consideration and in light of the additional works which are now required for the Cork event centre, he said the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht considers that in accordance with public procurement rules the total public funding for the project may be increased by €10 million to €30 million.

“There are complex legal, state aid and match-funding issues involved in this project and it is important that sufficient time is allowed for these important matters to be resolved satisfactorily,” he added.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said he noted that, along with the national children’s hospital, this showed that there is a serious problem with tendering.

“It seems to be practically impossible to hold people to the tender application that is initially made,” he added.

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