The 11th hour for Pipers?
An iconic Cork funfair has offered a cash sum and sourced a tarmacadam repair company in a last gasp bid to return to Kinsale this summer.
Time is running out for Pipers Funfair if it is to return to Kinsale town car park in June as it has done every year for almost a century, with a substantial cash bond standing in its way.
In March, the funfair’s owners were told by Cork County Council that a bond of €60k would be required to cover any repairs to damage caused to the car park’s recently tarmacked surface. A bond had never been required in previous years. Following talks between the funfair’s owner Brendan Piper and council officials, the bond was lowered to €30k, however, Mr Piper said this was still too high a cost to consider.
Speaking recently on RedFM’s 'The Neil Prendeville Show', Mr Piper said the type of bond required was a builder’s bond and as an amusement company, he was not eligible to apply for such a bond.
The Cork Independent has since learned that Mr Piper has offered €15,000 and has sourced a tarmacadam company to carry out any repairs caused by the funfair’s structures.
According to Green Party Local Area Representative Marc Ó Riain, Mr Piper has yet to receive a response from Cork County Council with less than 2 weeks to go before the funfair would traditionally open.
However, Cork County Council told the newspaper that the most recent proposal from Mr Piper was submitted on 25 April 2023 and the council issued a response to Mr Piper on 27 April.
A council spokesperson said it is “inaccurate and misleading” to suggest that Mr Piper is awaiting a response from the council.
Mr Ó Riain said it was a “crying shame” that the funfair may never return: “We are losing part of our intangible cultural heritage, local history, a public amenity, and a closely loved core part of what makes Kinsale special.”
Together with former Pipers worker Helen Hickey, Mr Ó Riain leads a community action group which held a protest in April calling on the council to remove the bond.
He added: “So many people have come out to show that they want both the Showman's wagon and the funfair back in the town park and Short Quay, and ultimately the council have not listened.
“They have thrown barrier after barrier in front of the Piper family. At each step, there was a promise broken and a new issue, a new reason to stop the return of the funfair.”