Cork event centre worth €80m ‘will still happen’, Coveney says

Public money of €50 million for the 6,000 seater facility remains intact, Minister says

The 6000-seat venue will be built on the site of the former Beamish and Crawford brewery in Cork city centre. File photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

The Government remains fully committed to the €80 million Cork Event Centre and is confident that the 6,000 seat centre will become a reality for the people of Cork and Munster, according to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney.

Mr Coveney acknowledged that construction has been substantially delayed since then taoiseach, Enda Kenny, turned the sod on the project on February 12th 2016 but he was unequivocal in his belief that Cork City Council and its partners, builders BAM and operators, Live Nation would deliver.

“I’m obviously very associated with the event centre. I’m very confident that this will still happen. I know people have become sceptical because it has gone on so long, but the €50 million (in public money) that the Government has committed to this project is very much intact,” he said.

Mr Coveney said that the relationship between Cork City Council, BAM and Live Nation was now "actually probably stronger than it has ever been" and he paid tribute to Cork City Council for "a fantastic job in terms of maintaining confidence in this project through Covid."


And Mr Coveney pointed out that, although Live Nation is the second largest events management company in the world, it has been unable to hold any events for nearly 18 months due to Covid and that this has disrupted the business model.

Despite this, Mr Coveney said Live Nation and builders, BAM remain “absolutely committed” to the project on the site of the former Beamish and Crawford on South Main Street, just off the nearby Grand Parade in the heart of Cork city.


Speaking in Cork where he launched the 32nd Cork French Film Festival, Mr Coveney dismissed suggestions that the Government and Cork City Council might opt for a scaled down version of the event centre in order to get the project delivered as quickly as possible.

“As for a scaled-down version of what is planned, I don’t think so - that’s not my understanding, and the €50m million, which is a significant sum of public money, is very based on what has been applied for and what has planning permission and what has been committed to by Live Nation and BAM.

"The whole point of this is that we are building an event centre of real scale in Cork for the first time, and of real quality, which will of course be a centre for Munster and for Ireland, as well as for Cork city centre. It will be a huge part of the revival of Cork and its economy as a city, post-Covid.

“I think it will be a good news story in time - I know people have become cynical about it, and I get that but believe me, the people who matter in terms of decision making around this event centre, the Government, Cork City Council, BAM and Live Nation are still absolutely committed to it.”

Earlier this year, Cork City Council Chief Executive Ann Doherty told The Irish Times that BAM and Live Nation will invest €30 million in the project and the set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which will be in receipt of the government grant of €50 million and the SPV will then build the centre.

“The State’s return on its investment isn’t going to be a €50 million payback. The State’s return is going to be in the growth of the city,” said Ms Doherty, adding that BAM will at some point then exit the SPV which will own and operate the centre.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times