Decision due on extra funds for Cork event centre

Decision due on extra funds for Cork event centre
A view of the proposed conference and events centre on the former Beamish and Crawford site.

A DECISION on additional funding for Cork's event centre could be made by the end of the month.

However, it is understood that some questions remain over the final cost of the multi-million euro project, earmarked for the former Beamish & Crawford site on South Main Street.

Current estimates put the bill for the event centre as high as €73 million, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Arts.

While some €20 million in state funding was initially approved, developers BAM have sought extra funds to cover changes in the project.

It is understood that Live Nation, who are contracted to run the finished project, are insistent on the event centre being versatile to ensure its long-term commercial viability.

Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Public Expenditure, has previously stated that any additional funding will be considered in the context of the revised Capital Plan.

A spokesperson for his department confirmed that this review is expected to be published by the end of September with any additional funds allocated in the subsequent budget.

They said, "The report of the mid-term review, including details of the submissions received and the infrastructure capacity and demand analysis, will be published in September, with final recommendations based on the review being made to Government in Quarter 3 of 2017, to enable the Government to make final decisions on how the remaining additional capital funding should be allocated in the context of Budget 2018."

Officials at Cork City Council have submitted the required additional information pertaining to the potential funding increase. It is understood that they were hopeful of hearing back from the Department of Arts regarding the changes by early September.

However, a spokesperson for the Department of Arts confirmed that exact costs are yet to be pinned down, rising to between €67 million and €73 million.

The spokesperson said, "The Council and contractor have not yet finalised the full cost due to design changes required to provide full multi-functionality for the centre. Officials of the D/CHG continue to liaise with Cork City Council with a view to conducting a full examination of the increased costs in order to ensure that the project remains good value for money for the Exchequer.

"No decision on additional funding has therefore been made by the Minister at this juncture."

Former Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Chris O'Leary, urged the government to make their decision as soon as possible.

He said the delays are hindering progress in Cork city.

"We are all waiting: we want to see results," he said.

"We don't want to see Cork overtaken by another city in the development of a convention centre. To see such inaction is inexcusable."

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