Irish

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Outstanding ocean race debts to be settled by Government

Caroline Crawford

Published 05/05/2014|02:30

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Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister Simon Coveney with the Volvo Ocean Race trophy in 2012.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister Simon Coveney with the Volvo Ocean Race trophy in 2012.

THE Government is set to intervene in an ongoing row between the Irish organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race and creditors – providing close to €200,000 to cover the outstanding debts.

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Almost two years on from the event, a number of businesses have still not been paid for services provided during the Galway stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race 2012.

Organisers Let's Do It Global have been seeking government assistance to pay off some of the money owed. They say they had been promised donations from various businesses, but some of these pledges failed to materialise, leaving them unable to pay suppliers.

The initial shortfall had been around €400,000 but this is understood to have been reduced to close to €200,000.

Negotiations have now begun with government agencies for a bailout to cover the outstanding monies, with a source close to the talks confirming a deal was now "imminent".

It is understood that the additional funds will be made available by either the Department of Tourism or Marine. Talks have already taken place with Marine Minister Simon Coveney and officials in the Department of Tourism.

The source said they expected the money to be released within a short time frame.

"There is a commitment from Government to do this and it will do it. It's just a matter of finding a mechanism for getting the funds out to them. This was a very successful enterprise and we don't want an outstanding issue like this to cause any reputational damage for Galway as a result of outstanding bills.

"We are working on this and we will provide the additional funding from central government. I would hope a conclusion is imminent."

Failte Ireland invested €4m of its €6m annual festival budget in the event in 2012, paid directly to the Volvo Ocean Race as a fee for hosting the finale. The rest was funded through sponsorship by Galway organisers Let's Do It Global.

But the company was left struggling to pay creditors after a number of companies failed to make good on their pledges.

Let's Do It Global then attempted to raise the funds to pay off €400,000 owed to contractors and suppliers. It is understood that around €200,000 is now needed to cover the outstanding debts of a small number of creditors.

"The vast majority of creditors have been repaid but there was a shortfall and some creditors are outstanding. About €200,000 will cover everyone that is left. It would leave the event with a clean slate," said the source.

One report suggested that the event was of €60.5m benefit to the economy of the West of Ireland.

Irish Independent

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