Cork entertainment venue could cost taxpayers €32m

A year after Enda Kenny and Co. 'turned the sod,' for the project its developers have gone back to the drawing board...

Cork entertainment venue could cost taxpayers €32m

Two weeks before last year's General Election Enda Kenny 'turned the sod' on Cork's planned (and long promised) 6,000 capacity event centre - since then "not a brick has been laid."

That's according to Eoin English of the Irish Examiner, who joined Newstalk's Breakfast Business to discuss the growing controversy surrounding the project which is seeking additional public funding.


Simon Coveney also attended that ceremony, on the eve of a Fine Gael leadership battle, this development is one which the Cork South-Central TD is monitoring closely.

"I think this will require an increase in state support, and within reason, that can be forthcoming. I think it does represent value for money to increase the Government’s commitment to the project," he said two weeks ago.

Some €20m in State funding has already been made available for the project.

"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. It’s my job to advocate for that, but it will be up to the Department of Public Expenditure to go through the value-for-money assessments," the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government continued.

According to the Cork-based journalist, Mr Covney remains "acutely aware" of the political implications that the success of failure of this project will have.

When Live Nation became involved in the project (after the tender was already awarded) it warned BAM, the Dutch-Irish construction company that secured the contract to build the venue, that it wasn't large enough or versatile enough to "host enough events per year to make it commercially viable," according to Mr English.

Altering the plans will increase the development costs significantly and it is seeking some €12m additional public funding.

At last year's launch event, Theo Cullinane, CEO of Bam indicated that the project would be completed within "24 to 26 months" - that timeline is likely to be extended.

Plans for a major Cork city venue have been in the pipeline for some 20 years.

The venue is set to bring half a million people to Cork per year when it is up and running and it is expected to be worth €50m to the local economy per annum.