The Government has insisted it has not cut its funding towards the proposed €50m event centre for Cork after it appeared that the Department of Arts was set to cut allocation for the long-delayed development by more than half.
A supplementary estimate to the department’s 2015 budget, revealed yesterday, proposed cutting the €10m originally earmarked for the event centre by €5.149m, with the money to be distributed back to the department and towards the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Culture Ireland, and Ireland’s representation at Expo 15, a world fair in Milan.
The news prompted fears that the €10m government funding that has been ring-fenced for the project was under threat.
Sinn Féin councillor for Cork City Chris O’Leary said local representatives were left in the dark.
“This communication deficit was one thing we were promised would not happen after the fiasco which surrounded the first tendering process,” said Mr O’Leary, chair of the council’s Planning and Strategic Investment Committee.
“A vital piece of strategic infrastructure such as the development of the Cork Event Centre is not a trivial matter and the elected representatives have a right to know as promptly as is possible what is happening.”
A spokesperson for the department described the changes as a “technical reallocation”.
“A total of €10m was allocated for the Cork Event Centre in 2014. However Cork City Council, which is leading the project, has advised that there will be no expenditure from that allocation in 2014,” the spokesperson said.
“The Minister for Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht has proposed that some of the moneys that are not now required in 2014 for the Cork Event Centre would instead be used to meet costs relating to the Culture Ireland programme, Ireland’s participation in Expo Milano, and the implementation of EU directives requiring the cessation of turf-cutting in Special Areas of Conservation.
“This will be considered by the Oireachtas later this month. This is a technical reallocation and provision for the Cork Event Centre will be made in 2015 and 2016.”
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