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Council is left red-faced over tender plans

A LOCAL authority was left embarrassed after having to abandon a tender process for a €50m concert venue.

Cork City Council confirmed, via a posting on the EU tenders website, that it was suspending a lengthy tender process for a new 7,000-seat concert venue and opting for an alternative direct-negotiating process with interested parties.

One bidder, Owen O'Callaghan, said he was not surprised by the decision, which has left council officials red-faced.

The confirmation came after Lord Mayor Cllr Mary Shields (FF) was briefed by senior council staff on legal advice received about the tender process.

It followed concerns that the tender system was not legally valid given that events centre operator, Live Nation, which runs Dublin's O2, had withdrawn from the two main bids.

Live Nation's shock withdrawal came after it voiced concerns over conditions 
applied by City Hall.

It was feared that these conditions could have an impact on the future commercial operations of the proposed venue.

Only one tender was submitted to the city council by the July 4 deadline - from BAM/Heineken.

Mr O'Callaghan, who is leading the rival project, opted not to submit a tender amid concerns it would not be legally valid without having an events operator on board.

"We are not surprised at this outcome," Mr O'Callaghan said.

"The withdrawal of Live Nation, the proposed operator for both bidders, from the process some weeks ago ensured that the competitive process around public funding for the project could not be finalised."

However, the developer insisted that his firm was still very interested in providing a modern events centre for Cork.


"We will look carefully at the new process that is being put in place by the city council and assess whether it can form a realistic basis for the delivery of this important project for Cork," he said.

BAM/Heineken, which had submitted a tender, is also committed to providing an events centre. Their bid is focused on the old Beamish & Crawford brewery site on South Main Street.

Mr O'Callaghan's bid involves a site on Albert Road, not far from Cork's docklands.