€800k spent on Cork events centre

€800k spent on Cork events centre
The site of a new events centre off South Main Street. Picture: Denis Minihane.

MORE than €800,000 of public money has been spent on the stalled Cork events centre since 2013 despite no progress on the building itself.

A detailed breakdown of how public money has been spent on the project can now be revealed after figures were released by City Hall.

Cork City Council has received €1 million from central government to cover costs related to the centre and has spent €831,285 to date.

More than half of the total spend - €491,832 - went to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to lead the tender process, which included assessing construction costs and operational forecasts by international experts.

A further €187,741 went to J.W. O'Donovan Solicitors and Ronan Daly Jermyn and Co in legal fees relating to the tender process and contractual arrangements.

Pimac Ltd. received €8,624 to chair the tendering process. BAM Building Ltd., which is set to build the centre, received €100,000 towards design costs.

The remaining expenses were €20,369 to Maurice G Collins SC for legal advice, €22,017 to James Dorgan for a cost-benefit analysis, and €738 to Mills Public Relations.

The figures were released by City Hall to Labour Party representative Peter Horgan, who said that there was a need for full transparency over how public money is being spent on the project.

"Public money has been paid out for design works and almost €500,000 was spent on consultation for a project that, more than 800 days after the turning of the sod, has yet to materialise.

"We have to remember that this is public money. This is not a private project," he said.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney last week appealed once again for people to be patient as work continues to resolve complex legal issues linked to extra Government funding for the €80m project.

Developers BAM won a competitive tender bid in late 2014 for €20m State funding for a 6,000-seat event centre project, estimated to cost €50m, on the site of the former Beamish and Crawford brewery. Former taoiseach Enda Kenny turned the sod in February 2016.

However, when Live Nation signed up as venue operators, a complete redesign was ordered, leading to an enlarged venue, costs soaring to between €75m and €80m, and the State being asked for another €10m.

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