The lord mayor of Cork has refused to comment on an almost €20,000 refurbishment project to the mayoral chambers at a time when the council is strapped for cash.
Labour Cllr Catherine Clancy insisted she would not be responding to criticism of the spend as the council tries to bridge a €4m shortfall ahead of its December budget.
She declined to comment on any aspect of the works contract, which was not advertised or discussed by full council, or on how or why the spend was sanctioned, referring only to a prepared statement issued by City Hall.
The statement, prepared by the council’s architect’s office, described the contract as “minor upgrade works” to the lord mayor’s chambers.
The contract was procured via the city architect’s department in accordance with the requirements of the Capital Works Management Framework, it read.
“As the value of the work was well below the threshold requiring advertising, three local contractors were invited to submit tenders and the contract was awarded to the lowest tenderer — €18,575, excluding Vat. The work, which primarily involves replacement and upgrading of bathroom and kitchen finishes and fittings, commenced on Nov 4 and is due to be completed on Nov 20.”
Sinn Féin Cllr Chris O’Leary, who tried to raise the issue during Monday’s council meeting, said it is outrageous to be spending this amount of money on a new kitchen and bathroom when council tenants may be facing rent hikes because of the council’s constrained financial position.
“I and other councillors are in contact with people on a daily basis who are in dire situations,” he said.
“I had a woman, a council tenant, crying to me on Saturday night because she can’t open certain windows in the house, and can’t close other windows in the house. She has no heating in the house because the heating system hasn’t been working for some time. And we’re being told we don’t have the money to carry out repairs to houses like this.”
City Hall was criticised in 2011 for sanctioning almost €250,000 on revamps to certain public areas of the civic building.
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