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Events centre: 'No point quibbling'

Wednesday, 27th February, 2019 3:47pm

There’s no point in quibbling over the cost of the stalled events centre, four prominent Cork organisations have this morning jointly declared.

The Cork Business Association, Irish Hotels Federation Cork, Vintners Federation Cork and Restaurant Association Cork have joined forces to call for certainty, accountability and meaningful communication on the long-awaited events centre.

All of these groups have been lobbying for the events centre independently throughout the proposal and development process. The lobbying wasn’t previously disclosed publicly because they didn’t want to be put any further obstacles in the way.

However, they are now joining forces out of frustration in order to to get delivery of the events centre over the line and prevent the process stalling any further.

The groups said: “Everyone knows how much construction of the events centre is going to cost and there is no point at this stage quibbling over the money. If the extra cost gets it over the line, then that’s the price that has to be paid.”

The groups continued: “Its development will lead to currently empty city centre rate paying units re-opening, it will bring jobs and it create revenue that will help repay the loan. Construction must begin before costs rise again.”

The business organisations said that it is imperative for future planning and sustainability in Cork that the development of the 6,000 capacity venue begins immediately.

They are appealing to An Tánaiste Simon Coveney and to local government for clarity on all phases of construction on the site and sent a letter to him yesterday. The group said: “The process has dragged out and at this stage the Government needs to deliver on this project, by resolving all interdepartmental issues and ensuring that the developer BAM and operator Live Nation also deliver on their end.”

The four groups jointly told the Cork Independent that this was not for benefit of their own pockets but for the benefit of the entire Cork region. 

They said: “Failure to deliver will be detrimental to all of industries in Cork and will cost jobs that should come on stream both directly and indirectly with the construction of the events centre.”

Development of the centre has been thwarted by delays which have seen costs soar from €53m to almost €80m. 

The MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) market in Cork is currently worth €13.2m, with a further €14m in the pipeline for next year, according to the latest figures from Cork Convention Bureau.

“Imagine what we could deliver with a dedicated multi-purpose venue. It will not only make Cork a destination city nationally and internationally, but it will help retain concert and event business in Cork, giving our community the opportunity to spend their hard-earned money with local businesses,” they concluded.

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