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Film festival keeps to repayment script

Thursday, 15th June, 2017 9:36am

Cork Film Festival has paid back all its legacy debts, it was revealed this week.

The news came just a little more than a year since Cork City Council bailed the festival out, by giving it an emergency loan.

The loan was granted in May 2016, which caused a stir – making national headlines.

Cork Film Festival had racked up debt of more than €250,000 before the loan was given by the local authority. The loan is due to paid back over eight years at €25,000 per annum, with the first €25,000 paid back to Cork City Council this year.

Last May, Cork City Council voted to grant an emergency interest-free loan of €200,000 to the Cork Film Festival, which saved the local festival from being scrapped.

The festival had been on the brink of going into receivership and at special meeting in May 2016, councillors voted to grant the loan, by a margin of 18 for and eight against.

At Monday’s meeting of the Cork City Council, Fianna Fáil Cllr Nicholas O’Keeffe confirmed that the Cork Film Festival had paid back all of its legacy debts and the yearly loan repayment back to the local authority.

The South-East ward councillor said: “The Arts Committee met last Monday and we were given a presentation from the Cork Film Festival. Members of the board and the CEO came into to speak to us and I come bearing good news.

“Can I make very clear that the members present found the presentation very informative.

“We were assured by the CEO of the Cork Film Festival that the loan they were given last year was very appreciated, even though it was controversial at the time. All legacy debts have now been paid off.”

He thanked the councillors who voted last year to keep the festival solvent.

After the meeting, Cllr O’Keeffe told the Cork Independent that this debt repayment was great news for the city as it meant local suppliers could be paid.

Fine Gael Cllr John Buttimer was also glad to see that the debts had been repaid.

He explained that the Cork Film Festival, like many festivals in Ireland, need to be funded one-third privately, one-third publicly and one-third at the box office.

“This is difficult to achieve but the festival should not be punished (publicly) if it does well at the box office, or privately,” said Cllr Buttimer.

The next Cork Film Festival is due to take place in November.

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