CLARITY has been called for on legal advice on the Cork events centre so construction can finally get underway.
Today marks 1,000 days since the official sod turning for the long-delayed project and Tánaiste Simon Coveney told the Evening Echo earlier this week that he believes legal agreement on public funding for the centre will be finalised in the coming weeks with construction possibly starting as soon as early 2019.
Talks will continue next week between Cork City Hall and the Chief State Solicitor’s office to ensure the tender for the €75m project and the State funding allocated to it is legally ironclad and not subject to legal challenges which could delay the project even further.
Project developers, BAM, had previously requested €18m to add to the €20m of government money which had already been allocated but it is believed €10m is the maximum Cork City Council could request without triggering a legal requirement to re-tender for the project.
Cork TDs have called for this legal advice process to be expedited so there is clarity on the status of the project.
North Central TD Mick Barry of Solidarity said the lack of a start date remains a concern for the public whose confidence in the project has been eroded by several delays.
“The people of Cork are sick and tired of the delays. This project was promised and must be delivered.
“The haggling now seems to be about how much extra State money can be given to the project and its big business backers. If the project had been built as a State-owned initiative from day one it would be up and running by now.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin south central representative Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said the Government needs to bring the stalling to an end.
"It is now, incredibly, 1,000 days since the sod turning for the Cork events centre - 1,000 days of missed deadlines, of uncertainty, and of the people of Cork getting increasingly frustrated.
“No one is raising concerns just for the sake of it, we in the opposition have an obligation to highlight and seek answers on this."
"As well as the 1,000 days landmark, it is now over a year since the application for additional funding, made by Cork City Council to the Department, in September 2017."
"Why has it taken so long for this application to be approved?
"I asked the Tánaiste, in July, whether he believed the Department will decide on that additional funding between that time and the Dáil's return in September? He said that was the intention."
"[The] Government needs to sign off on this funding and bring a halt to the delays," he added.