DEVELOPERS BAM have said they expect to start construction work on the events centre before the end of the year.
The construction firm, which has come under fire for the long delays on the project, said: “The funding gap, both private and public, has almost closed and we are confident funding will be available to progress the project.
“We expect construction to be able to start during quarter four of this year. We have already begun construction on student accommodation on the site.”
However, there are still issues to be addressed before funding for the €73 million Cork events centre can be finalised, according to the Secretary-General of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Katherine Licken.
Speaking in an Oireachtas Committee last weeks, Ms Licken said that her department, which has committed to part-funding the project, has a number of outstanding queries on the cost-benefit analysis of the project before it will sign off on additional funding.
A deal in principle was announced in February, two years after the sod was turned, which will see the the state invest another €10 million on top of €20 million already committed.
BAM and Live Nation will cover the remaining €43 million cost, and the state will spend up to €10 million more on projects to upgrade the surrounding infrastructure, which could include a revamp of Bishop Lucey Park.
While being questioned by Fianna Fáil TD Bobby Aylward, she said that the funding is not being withheld.
“It is not a holdback. This is the norm in projects. There is always a toing and froing to make sure we comply with the public sector code,” she said.
Responding to questions from Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien, she said that the department received an update in February and had a number of queries that are still being worked through.
“We are in dialogue with Cork City Council. It is the project promoter. At present, it has resubmitted a cost-benefit analysis because we need to ensure that the cost-benefit analysis complies with the public spending code.” she said.