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Tuesday 22 October 2019

Council axes Gavin from €2m sky garden plan after eight-month row

Ralph Riegel

CELEBRITY TV gardener Diarmuid Gavin has been axed from a €2m-plus plan to turn his gold medal-winning design into a major tourist attraction.

Cork city manager Tim Lucey yesterday defended the decision to dispense with the services of Mr Gavin's firm after an eight-month row about the 'Avatar Sky Garden', which was the star of the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show in London.

Mr Gavin said his ongoing involvement in the project with Cork City Council was a source of "embarrassment" to him.

The TV star had repeatedly requested to be allowed publicly address councillors on the cost of the garden but claimed he was refused by council management.

Mr Gavin publicly hit out at the city council over the controversy last week -- and even queried the choice of location for the garden with Fitzgerald Park in the Mardyke posing a possible flood risk.

The garden -- by the time it is installed as a permanent tourist attraction -- is expected to cost more than €2.3m.

Its central attraction -- a 'Sky Garden' hanging from a pod suspended from a crane -- has already effectively been ruled out on health and safety grounds.

Yesterday, the city council defended its decision to dispense with the contracting services of Mr Gavin's firm -- and said every effort to rebuild bridges with the celebrity gardener had failed.

Mr Lucey said he was taken aback by Mr Gavin's critical comments -- and stressed that they were incorrect and unfair.

The city manager warned that he could not ignore the fact that efforts had been made to "besmirch the competence and reputation of Cork City Council".

Irish Independent

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