Wednesday 17 January 2018

Councillors 'in the dark' about €50m concert venue

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

CORK politicians angrily claimed they have been kept in the dark about a battle over a €50m concert venue to rival Dublin's O2 and Belfast's Odyssey Arena.

The competition for the venue emerged between property developer Owen O'Callaghan and BAM/Heineken Ireland after Cork City Council was forced to abandon a public tender process for the giant events centre amid fears any winning bid would not be legally valid.

The council confirmed, via a posting on the EU tenders website, that it was suspending a lengthy tender process for the new 7,000-seat venue.

It will instead opt for an alternative 'direct negotiating process' with the two main interested parties, Mr O'Callaghan and BAM/Heineken Ireland.

Both bids hinge on who secures €16m in promised public funding from both Cork City Council (€6m) and the National Lottery (€10m).

However, several city council members expressed fury that they have not been given full details of the concert venue.

Cllr Kieran McCarthy (Ind) said it was crucial a meeting about the venue is organised immediately.

"I am delighted that we are moving on with the process but, as an elected councillor, I think we are being left in the dark."

"The next council meeting isn't for three weeks and that is a long time when the timing of this project is such a priority."

Irish Independent

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