Coveney angry over claims of election stunt
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney angrily hit out at suggestions that the timing of the sod-turning for Cork's €70m new concert venue represents "a Coalition election stunt".
Taoiseach Enda Kenny will perform the official sod-turning on Friday for the €70m complex, which features €20m of public funding, and aims to give Cork a comparable complex to Dublin's 3Arena and Belfast's Odyssey Centre.
It is the centrepiece of major investment projects in Cork which include the €60m One Albert Quay office complex, the €3m facelift for Kent railway station, the €70m revamp of Pairc Ui Chaoimh GAA stadium, the €3.2m Irish Independent rugby stadium revamp, and the €50m Capitol retail complex.
Mr Coveney expressed fury over the political stunt claims.
"I find it absolutely unbelievable that people are trying to turn a hugely positive and important project for Cork into something negative," the Fine Gael TD said.
"Lots of people in Cork have been very critical that this sod-turning did not happen before now. I have always said that this project would go ahead.
"This should be seen as a celebration for the city. It is not party political - I have always tried to make this non-party political."
"The only goal here has been to deliver something big for Cork city. I had hoped it would start last autumn."