Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1604, 1607, 1608, 1609)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

1604. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the correspondence she has received from Cork City Council in respect of a funding proposal for an event centre. [18468/19]

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Niamh Smyth

Question:

1607. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of the Cork event centre; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18975/19]

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Niamh Smyth

Question:

1608. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the position regarding planning permission and funding for the Cork event centre; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18976/19]

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Niamh Smyth

Question:

1609. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason a new timeline is not in place in view of comments made that a new timeline would be in place by Easter 2019 for the Cork event centre; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18977/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1604 and 1607 to 1609, inclusive, together.

The Cork Event Centre project is being led by Cork City Council with the development company BAM, having been selected by Cork City Council as the preferred tenderer. BAM in turn has engaged international events company Live Nation as the preferred operator. The project is ultimately being developed and managed by Cork City Council. This means that Cork City Council has responsibility for its delivery. Public funding of €20 million euro was available comprising grants totalling €14 million of which €12 million is from my Department and €2 million from Cork City Council as well as a repayable loan of €6 million also from Cork City Council.

The latest financial projections provided by Cork City Council to my Department indicate an increase in the original cost of project compared to when the project tender was issued in December 2014, which had an estimated cost of €50 million. The cost is now estimated at over €80 million.

In light of this cost increase, Cork City Council wrote to my Department seeking additional funding of €10m for the project from the Exchequer to bring total public funding to €30 million.

Following detailed consideration and in light of the additional works which are now required for the Event Centre, my Department considers that in accordance with public procurement rules, that total public funding for the project may be increased by €10 million to €30 million. This funding is made up of grant aid of €21 million and a repayable loan of €9 million, given that a repayable loan element was in the original RFT issued by Cork City Council in 2014 and subsequently agreed by Cork City Council during tender negotiations with the developer.

Officials in my Department are in ongoing correspondence with Cork City Council regarding the provision of additional public funding for the development of the Event Centre and also met with Cork City Council officials in January and March to discuss all aspects around the public funding elements of the project.

High level meetings have taken place regarding legal and funding requirements. I have attended meetings on this project involving the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs on a number of occasions to discuss outstanding matters. Officials in my Department met with Cork City Council in January and March to discuss all aspects around the public funding elements of the project and continue to liaise with the City Council in this regard.

I understand that Cork City Council is considering a number of elements of the project; including planning matters, timelines, as well as certain legal and funding issues. All parties are eager for this project to progress and be delivered in accordance with the Public Financial Procedures and the Public Spending Code.

The Cork Event Centre is a Government commitment and the development of a major new event centre in Cork city centre is very much in line with what the Government is seeking to achieve in terms of balanced regional development and sustainable urban development under Project Ireland 2040.