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Tánaiste confirms work to finalise Cork event centre funding is ongoing

Work to finalise the complex funding arrangements for the stalled Cork event centre is still ongoing, the Tánaiste has confirmed.

Just days after calls from the city’s business leaders, hoteliers and publicans for “certainty, accountability and meaningful communication” on the controversial project, Simon Coveney said legal advice on the increased State-aid, upped from €20m to €30m, including the contentious €9m repayable loan element is awaited.

At the opening of the Clonakilty Distillery in West Cork today, the Tánaiste said he speaks “all the time” to businesses in Cork about the project.

“We are at a point now where we are awaiting legal advice from two senior counsels to make sure that we can move to the next stage, which is effectively finalising the conditions by which the €30m that has been sanctioned and committed by government is actually spent,” he said.

“Some of that money needs to be a repayable loan, We have known that for many, many months but the circumstances around that need to be consistent with the original tendering process.

So anybody who has been involved in this process knows exactly what is going on. There are ongoing discussions, in fact, weekly discussions, which I am involved in to continue to move this process forward.

He said as the funding issues are being finalised, BAM will finalise the planning process.

“I am as frustrated as anybody else that we are not physically seeing it being built at the moment but there are processes that need to be concluded so we don’t make decisions and then find that they are legally challenged," he said.

It's more than four years since the State funding was sanctioned and more than three years since the sod was turned. BAM has been asked for further information on its planning application for the enlarged venue.