The Government could be asked to pay out another €10m in State funding to save the stalled Cork Event Centre project from collapsing. Over two years on from the Government’s €20m investment in the building of the proposed 6,000 seater venue on the old Beamish and Crawford site, Minister Simon Coveney has admitted that an additional €10 million will be required to prevent the project from collapse. It has been almost a year since the sod turning ceremony by the Taoiseach, but the process has been dogged by incessant delays from the off. “I think this will require an increase in state support, and within reason, that can be forthcoming,” Minister Coveney said, adding “I think it does represent value for money to increase the Government’s commitment to the project. But I am not willing to go back to the Government to ask for more money until I have clarity in terms of what the ask is, and independent verification of that”. To date, some demolition work has occurred on site, however no building has yet commenced. Last August, the Irish Examiner revealed that the arena would not be completed by 2018, as was anticipated at the sod-turning event.
After a prolonged internal design and final expenses process, the developers, entertainment company, “Live Nation” and the builders, “BAM Construction”, have informed Minister Coveney that additional funding will be required from the state before building can even begin. Mr Coveney confirmed he has received a detailed estimate from the project partners but he refused to be drawn on an exact figure. However, it is understood the State may be asked to pump up to another €10m into the venture. Minister Coveney has said he has informed Minister Paschal Donohue and the final decision, which will be based on a strict value-for-money appraisal, will be made by Mr. Donohue. BAM boss Theo Cullinane insisted the company was totally committed to the project and he is due to brief city councillors on the status of the project on February 20
On the other hand Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has hit out at the “debacle” unfolding around the event centre. He has called for “straight answers” in relation to the centre after a potential shortfall of €10.5m was reported. In relation to the project he said
“Like the vast majority of people in Cork, my sole interest in this is to see the event centre project proceed because I recognise how significant this project is for Cork city and county. An enormous amount of work has been put into the project so far and we all want to see cranes on the site building this event centre without any more delay”. In relation to the delayed development, Deputy McGrath added “The full story about why the events centre hasn’t happened and what exactly is needed to make it happen must be laid bare so that a proper assessment can be done. The people of Cork deserve no less given the repeated assurances they have been given that all was going according to plan.”