Hosting the America’s Cup could be ‘huge for Cork’ councillor says as revised proposals are submitted

Hosting the America’s Cup could be ‘huge for Cork’ councillor says as revised proposals are submitted

Kennedy Quay would be used as a fan zone under the proposals.

Hosting the America’s Cup could be “huge for Cork and for the country” if green lit by the Government as financially viable, a Cork city councillor has said.

Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill made the comments in the wake of revised proposals presented to the Department of Sport as it considers if Ireland should move forward in the 37th America’s Cup host venue bid process.

The revised plans outline an alternative race set-up in Cork.

As reported in the Irish Examiner, the new plans compiled by the company which is collating the various race bids, include a proposal to use publicly-owned land at Tivoli docks for the event’s technical zone and team bases instead of a privately-owned dockyard site in Rushbrooke near Cobh.

The Rushbrooke site was originally deemed the preferred team base area, given its proximity to the proposed racing zone at the mouth of Cork Harbour but this would have required State investment estimated at around €77m and the site would remain in private ownership after the event, the publication reports.

In visuals seen by The Echo, the new proposals also show that Kennedy Quay would be used as a fan zone with the race area proposed to be situated just outside the mouth of the harbour.

The race area is proposed to be situated just outside the mouth of the harbour.
The race area is proposed to be situated just outside the mouth of the harbour.

Women's and Youth America's Cup regattas will be part of the event schedule for the 37th America's Cup, with the visuals showing that the basin in Haulbowline is under consideration for these events.

Event could bring huge benefits, councillors say

Speaking to The Echo, Mr Cahill said he welcomes the revised proposals, which take a “different angle” and could save the State a significant amount in staging costs.

“Obviously something like this has to be financially viable. I think the Government is right to do their due diligence, even though it is taking time but it’s going to take the time it’s going to take.

“If the numbers are right I think it would be huge for Cork and for the country to stage a world event of this nature,” he said.

“The city I think has proved, particularly over the last 12 months, how it can reimagine itself into a very restaurant nighttime-friendly city, even in the environment of Covid and I think staging an event of this nature will only enhance that.

“I think the return to the city would be enormous and not just the immediate return that year, it will be a follow on return year on year.

“We had events on those quays previously which were run very successfully and it’s in the heart of the city - a very exciting part of the city where so many changes are going to happen over the years,” Mr Cahill continued.

However, he again stressed that the State should only move forward in the 37th America’s Cup host venue bid process “if the number is correct”.

“I believe the number has to be kind of circa €100m or no more,” he added.

Independent councillor and former Lord Mayor of Cork Mick Finn said he believes hosting the America’s Cup could be “another jewel in the crown for the city and county” and would “sit well alongside our previous hosting of the Tall Ships Race".

“However, this needs significant national government investment and cannot be funded by the local authorities who both had to pass difficult budgets lately.

“If the America’s Cup is to come to Cork, it requires significant work by our cabinet members and our multinationals to get it over the line.

“Many of course will say it’s a waste of money, but the potential yield to the city and county from the event itself and the marketing of the region to a huge TV audience should not be underestimated,” he added.

Statement from the Department 

In a statement, the Department of Sport said it is “currently engaged in an assessment which will take six months and is aimed at evaluating the potential of this event before a decision could be made on whether or not Ireland should move forward in the 37th America’s Cup host venue bid process”.

“In the meantime, the Department will consult other stakeholders as appropriate.

“Following the period of assessment, the Minister will consider whether to recommend the hosting of this event to Government.” 

Revised plans raise questions, TD says 

Meanwhile, Solidarity TD for Cork North Central Mick Barry said the revised plans raise some questions.

“It appears from reports that there were plans to invest €77m in a privately-owned dockyard site at Rushbrooke near Cobh with the site to remain in private ownership after the event.

“It now seems that this was not fully necessary as shown by the fact that it has been excluded from the revised plans.

“That's a hell of a lot of taxpayers money to invest in a privately-owned site when the investment isn't strictly necessary,” he said.

“Questions need to be asked about that.”

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