Criticism over €40k spend on City Hall revamp

An independent Cork City councillor has again criticised the spending of almost €40,000 on a new carpet, curtains, and photographs in City Hall.

The 24 red velvet curtain panels have been hung in the public gallery areas of the council chamber, which hosts council meetings and civic receptions.

The hand-stitched, blue-grey carpet, which bears the city’s coat of arms, has been laid in the lord mayor’s office.

Dozens of portraits of former lords mayor have been hung on the walls along the corridor outside the mayor’s office.

“This is just wrong,” Cllr Kieran McCarthy (Ind) said. “I signed up to the revamp of City Hall but I didn’t sign up to the spending of almost €30,000 on a carpet and curtains. Surely we could have got better value than that. I mean, curtains shouldn’t cost €16,000.”

Last year, the council approved the spending of €250,000 on the refurbishment of City Hall, which was to include the development of a mayoral museum featuring artifacts associated with the office.

The initial works included the areas of City Hall which are most frequented and used in the course of civic and mayoral duties.

Most of the money was spent revamping the main hall area on Anglesea St, where new lighting has been installed.

Mr McCarthy tabled a question seeking a detailed breakdown on how much was spent on the revamp of the council chamber, and on hanging photographs of former lords mayor on the mayoral landing.

A written reply from city manager Tim Lucey on Monday, revealed:

* €15,977.70 was spent replacing the curtains in the council chamber;

* €3,445.86 was spent on framed portraits of former lords mayor who served from 1990 to 2012;

* €5,488.86 was spent on the portraits of former lords mayor who served from 1900 to 1989;

* And a further €340.50 was spent on scanning and restoration work of some of the portraits.

Figures previously supplied to councillors showed that the carpet cost €13,723.14.

Mr McCarthy said he is in no doubt that parts of City Hall are in need of upgrades. Paint and plaster is peeling with the stairs which leads to the mayor’s office.

However, he said the spend on the curtains and portraits was “wrong”.

“The revamp should have been more about the public areas of City Hall than the private areas,” he said.

“There are some good things in the mayoral museum. It is a great idea, to bring people in, reconnecting them to City Hall.

“But spending €16,000 on curtains doesn’t connect people with City Hall.

“If anything positive comes out of this, I hope the money went to Cork companies.”

Lord Mayor Terry Shannon has defended the €250,000 refurbishment and said it will help the city put its best foot forward.

“There is never a good time to spend money on a public building,” Mr Shannon said.

“But as the main conservation officers in the city, where we tell other people how to deal with their buildings, we need to show leadership.”


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