€5,936 to polish door handles? Cork council defends royal visit spending

The €200,000 spend includes €13,000 to hire barriers and more than €29,000 on lighting

Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, drink a glass of wine during a visit to the English Market in Cork, in June this year. Photograph: Reuters

Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, drink a glass of wine during a visit to the English Market in Cork, in June this year. Photograph: Reuters

 

Cork City Council has defended spending €203,761 on the visit of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla this year after the outlay was criticised, with the allocation of €5,936 to polish door handles in City Hall highlighted.

Local Sinn Féin Councillor, Thomas Gould, said the spending on the June visit was “overkill” at a time when many people are struggling put basic essentials on the table.

“It [the spending] was absurd. I think there was a panic about it. It wasn’t a state visit. We spent €13,000 on hiring barriers and there was no one there. The whole South Mall was cordoned off.

“This figure doesn’t include what the Garda spent, what the Navy spent down in Haulbowline and what Cork County Council spent. What they spent in Kerry. We probably spent millions on this visit at a time when people are homeless.”

Mr Gould said he had no problem with royal visits but he described the spending on certain items, including nearly €6,000 on polishing door handles, as excessive.

In response to the criticisms Cork City Council said the bill included specialist work on over 260 individual brass items by a local firm.

“It included reconditioning, polishing and lacquering door knobs, door handles, escutcheons, push plates, finger plates, brass fittings and kick plates.

“These items had not been refurbished since they were first put in place over 80 years ago and were due to be refinished but the project was brought forward due to royal visit.”

Cork City Council also defending the spending of €11,112 on deep cleaning and €29,416 on lighting.

“The deep clean bill included the deep clean of the entire English Market complex, the Council Chamber, the Lord Mayor’s office, the Lord Mayor’s meeting room, secretariat, kitchen, bathroom and the Lord Mayoress’ office.

“It also included the deep clean of the front lobby of Cork City Hall, the stairwell, corridors adjoining the main foyer and the Lord Mayor’s Chamber and the corridor where the Law Agent’s Office is situated.”

It is understood the lighting bill related to the rebuilding and repair of thirty plus bespoke lights at Cork City Hall.

Just over €91,000 was spent on refurbishments to Cork City Hall. This included €6,222 on repairing a foyer light and €5,448 on blasting/painting the gates of City Hall.

The spending also included €19,770 on a dinner for seventy invited guests at the Crawford Art Gallery.

Some €14,541 was spent on traffic management with €12,854 being allocated to window displays.

A further €9,332 was spent on banners for the English Market with an additional €4,336 of funds being allocated to signage for the same facility.