Cork County Council has explained why a €60,000 bond has been imposed in respect of a car park in Kinsale where the Piper’s Funfair is traditionally held.
Supporters of the annual summer fair, including local TDs and councillors, walked through the streets of Kinsale on Sunday, carrying placards calling on Cork County Council to “bin the bond”.
Brendan Piper and his family, who organise the much-loved fair, say they cannot afford to pay, putting the fair’s future in doubt.
On Wednesday, Cork County Council issued a statement, saying it “notes that the open market value of works recently carried out at the Pier Road car park in Kinsale is estimated to equate to €130,000 in public procurement terms, based on prevailing surface contracting rates.
“The completed works improve the surface and layout of the Pier Road car park in Kinsale.
"These works greatly enhanced the surface for pedestrians and drivers and the delineation of parking spaces has improved user safety in the car park.
“There were longstanding calls from car-park users for the surface upgrade which was necessary, and which was carried out once the necessary funding was sourced.
“It is normal to request a financial bond to facilitate temporary lettings of public property, particularly where there is a risk that the property may be altered or damaged during the letting.
“In these instances, a bond is put in place to ensure the property can be returned in good condition on termination of the licence.
“The value of the bond is estimated using an understanding of the onsite activity which may affect the property and indicative cost to restore or repair the property should the need arise. A financial bond is relinquished without drawdown once the property is returned without impairment.
“The council can confirm that, in this instance, it has adopted a reasonable and pragmatic approach to safeguarding the recent investment of public monies in the extensive car park upgrade.
“While the council is not in a position to comment on the detail of commercial discussions involving a third party, the council can confirm that it has engaged with Mr Piper on the matter on an ongoing and continuous basis, most recently last Friday when senior council officials met with Mr Piper.
“It is worth noting that this meeting was convened at the request of Mr Piper to discuss and consider an offer which Mr Piper indicated could resolve the matter.
“While the council advised at the meeting that it would be prepared to accept Mr Piper’s proposal, notwithstanding this, the matter remains unresolved.”