Cork business groups seek clarification on events centre progress

Proposed 6,000 seat venue on site of former Beamish and Crawford brewery has been hampered by delays, say advocates

The former Beamish & Crawford site in Cork.

The former Beamish & Crawford site in Cork.

 

A number of Cork business groups have come together to urge both the Government and Cork City Council to clarify what exactly is happening in relation to the €80 million Cork Events Centre which has been delayed over uncertainty over funding.

The Cork Business Association (CBA) has joined with the Cork branches of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), Vintners Federation (VFI) and Restaurant Association(RAI) to call for “certainty, accountability and meaningful communication” on the proposed 6,000 seater facility.

“It is imperative for the future planning and sustainability in Cork that the development of this 6,000 capacity multi-purpose venue begins immediately,” said the four groups in a joint statement regarding what they describe as “a vital piece of infrastructure for the region”.

The groups have appealed to An Tánaiste and Cork South Central Fine Gael TD, Simon Coveney and to local government for clarity on all phases of construction on the site where work has commenced on adjoining student accommodation but not on the event centre part of the project.

Mr Coveney, who has been centrally involved in plans to deliver the events centre for Cork on the former Beamish and Crawford brewery on South Main Street, has repeatedly expressed confidence the project will come to fruition despite costs spiralling from an initial estimate of €53 million to €80 million.

He confirmed just before Christmas that the Government had agreed to up state funding from €20 million to €30 million with the balance of the costs being carried by the developer, BAM and entertainment promoter Live Nation, which will operate the 6,000 seat centre.

But now, some three years on since then taoiseach, Enda Kenny turned the sod on the project on February 12th 2016 during that year’s general election campaign, business groups have moved for clarity on what exactly is happening with the project.

“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,” said the business groups.

They point out that the delays have seen costs soar from €53 million to almost €80 million with the state contribution rising from €20 million to €30 million.