Sky Garden grounded for a year but will become one of city’s ‘great attractions’

TAXPAYERS may have unknowingly coughed up €2.3 million to build a garden in the sky — but now they’re going to have to wait another year to see their project in bloom.

Cork City Council has said that Diarmuid Garden’s award-winning Sky Garden will not be unveiled in Cork city until next summer as its eventual permanent installation at either Fitzgerald’s Park or at Mardyke Walk will have to be sanctioned through the planning system.

The garden is now in storage at the Showgrounds in Cork city while the garden’s contract manager will store the plants and trees in Dublin.

The eye-shaped Sky Garden scooped gold at last month’s Chelsea Garden Show. Suspended 25 metres in the air, it contains pools, plants and grasses and has been the subject of much controversy about its cost. Fáilte Ireland paid €1.9m of its cost while Cork City Council provided €400,000.

Cork City’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Michael O’Connell, has said people will be won over by the garden once it goes on display.

“It will be on permanent exhibition in Cork and will become known as one of our great attractions, adding to our great city’s reputation,” he said.

“Be patient — the Sky Garden will become one of Cork’s greatest cultural and tourism assets in time.”

It has emerged in recent weeks that Mr Gavin was none-too-happy with council delays in reimbursing him for monies spent on the project.

In the end, he wrote a letter to former PD minister Liz O’Donnell expressing his unhappiness. Mr Gavin said he found the council “extremely difficult” to deal with and that he spent up to one-and-a-half hours at one point in council offices waiting to meet officials.

Chief executive of the council’s Tourism, Events, Arts and Marketing group, Damien O’Mahony, said he did not blame Mr Gavin for being annoyed but the council was “legally bound to follow certain procedures when dealing with taxpayers’ money”.

More in this section