€600,000 has been spent by City Hall on ‘economic advice and professional fees’ relating to the stalled events centre project.
Questions arose after the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht confirmed that it had paid €1m to Cork City Council for the project, despite there being no start date.
The allocation emerged in response to a parliamentary question posed by Cork South-Central TD, Michael McGrath, who was seeking an update on a request for additional funding.
Developers, BAM, are seeking an additional €10m for the landmark build, citing complex construction costs. It is in addition to €20m already sanctioned by the State.
Of this €20m, €8m is from City Hall’s capital budget, with the remaining €12m from the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht. The €1m issued to Cork City Council by the State is from this €12m allocation.
A spokesperson for Cork City Council confirmed that part of this fund has been spent on the process to date.
“€1m was received from the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht towards costs in relation to economic advice for the project and professional fees for carrying out the public-procurement processes, incurred to date. €367,000 of this money remains at this point in time.”
The statement by the Department to Mr McGrath shone no light on the timescale surrounding the process, despite Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, claiming, in February, that a funding package had been agreed in principle.
City Hall had no further information to provide in relation to the timescale, according to a spokesperson.
Mr McGrath said: “It is evident that the request for the extra €10m is still with the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht. There is no timeline as to when that request might be passed on to the Department of Finance and Public Expenditure and Minister Paschal Donohoe, for sign-off.
“We were led to believe that a deal had been agreed, in principle, in February, and that does not appear to be the case. People want to know exactly where this project is and it seems to be stuck, at the moment”.